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Inlay and Onlay Restorations

An Inlay or onlay restoration is a custom made filling made of composite material, gold, or tooth-colored porcelain.  They are made in a professional dental laboratory and is permanently cemented into the tooth by your dentist, similar to a crown.

Both inlays and onlays can be utilized to conservatively repair teeth that have large defective fillings or have been damaged by decay or trauma.  Inlays are an ideal alternative to conventional silver and composite fillings as the material used is more durable. Onlays are an ideal alternative to crowns (caps) because less tooth structure is removed in the preparation of onlays. Onlays are essentially identical to inlays with the exception that one or more of the chewing cusps have also been affected and need to be included in the restoration.  As a result of being made in a lab, they also have better contour and contact with the tooth. Both are considered more conservative than crowns because less tooth structure is removed in the preparation for the restoration. 

As with many dental restorations, inlays and onlays are not always permanent and may someday require replacement.  They are, however, highly durable and are expected to last longer than a composite filling. 

Reasons to consider an inlay restoration:

  • Broken or fractured teeth

  • Cosmetic enhancement

  • Decayed teeth

  • Fractured fillings

  • Large fillings

What does getting an inlay involve?

Inlay and onlay procedures usually require two appointments.  Your first appointment will include taking several highly accurate impressions (molds) that will be used to create your custom inlay or onlay and a temporary restoration.

While the tooth is numb, the dentist will remove any decay and/or old filling materials.  The area will then be thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared, shaping the surface to properly fit the inlay or onlay restoration.  A temporary filling will be applied to protect the tooth while your inlay or onlay is made by a dental laboratory.

At your second appointment, your new inlay or onlay will be carefully and precisely cemented into place.  A few adjustments may be necessary to ensure a proper fit and that your bite is comfortable.

You will receive care instruction at the conclusion of your treatment.  Good oral hygiene practices, a proper diet, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new inlay or onlay restoration.

Inlay and Onlay Restorations: Service
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