Inlays and Onlays

What are dental inlays?

In order to treat decay within the biting surfaces of the back teeth, dentists use inlays made of either tooth-colored materials like composite resin or porcelain, or sometimes even gold. An inlay is a way to fill a cavity in a tooth in order to help prevention of further infection.

Closeup of a dental technician applying porcelain to a mold

What are dental onlays?

Similar to inlays, onlays also help treat decay and damage within teeth. The biggest difference between inlays and onlays is that an onlay is used to help repair an extensive amount of a damaged area. Sometimes referred to as a partial crown, onlays help a patient prevent infection and ease the process of chewing by repairing the biting surfaces, or cusps, of the back teeth.

How are dental inlays and onlays applied?

The process of applying inlays and onlays takes two visits. The first consists of the damaged or decaying area of the tooth or teeth being removed. Next, an impression of the tooth or teeth is made and sent to a lab to be fabricated. The dentist will apply a temporary restoration on the damaged tooth.

Upon the second visit, the patient will have the temporary restoration removed, and the dentist will make sure the inlay or only correctly fits. Once the inlay or only has been deemed a suitable fit, the dentist will bond the inlay or only to the tooth, and polish it down to a smooth finish that matches the natural tooth.

If you have more questions about inlays and onlays or think you may be a candidate to receive inlays or onlays, contact us today!