What Are Dental Inlays and Onlays?
Dental inlays and onlays are a restorative dental procedure used to treat and repair tooth decay. They are often used as an alternative option for other restorative oral health solutions such as dental fillings or dental crowns.
How Inlays and Onlays are Used
Inlays and onlays are tooth restorations that are fabricated in a dental laboratory. They are made as single solid pieces that are designed to be placed directly over the biting surface of the existing tooth structure. They can be made from a variety of restorative materials, including porcelain, gold, and composite resins.
Inlays and onlays have a variety of benefits and can be used as both a cosmetic and restorative technique.
The Difference Between Inlays and Onlays
Inlays and onlays differ mostly in terms of their shape and orientation on the tooth surface.
In cases when tooth damage is limited to the uppermost surface, an inlay can be applied between the cusps of the tooth without extending to the surrounding tooth area.
When the damage extends to the cusps of the teeth, an onlay will cover more of the surface of the tooth, including the cusps.
Inlays and Onlays Versus Dental Crowns
Inlays or onlays may be suggested as a conservative treatment option over dental crowns. Unlike dental crowns, they do not cover the entire tooth; instead, they are applied to the cusp of the tooth. The natural tooth does not need to be ground down to fit the piece, making the procedure less invasive for the patient.
Inlays and Onlays Versus Fillings
Inlays and onlays are often used to repair larger cavities, while fillings are typically recommended for smaller cavities when there is a greater amount of tooth structure remaining. However, these two options may both be available, depending on the level of tooth decay.
How Inlays and Onlays are Placed
Inlays and onlays are typically placed over two visits (unless the dentist you’ve chosen has the ability to create them on site). In the first appointment, your dentist will remove the decayed portion of the tooth and take a mould of the tooth. Typically, a temporary onlay will be used to protect the tooth between appointments.
Then, a custom inlay or onlay will be created in a dental laboratory. During your second appointment, the restoration will be placed over the chewing surface of the tooth using a bonding agent. Once they are fully bonded to the tooth, they are a long-term solution and may last up to 30 years.
Find a Dentist Near You
If you’re looking for restorative dental care options in Canada, make 123Dentists your first stop. Search our network of dentists across Canada to find a dentist offering restorative dentistry near you.