An inlay or onlay will normally be used when over half of your tooth’s biting surface has become damaged.

What are dental inlays and onlays?

An inlay or onlay may be crafted from gold, porcelain, or composite resin. These small pieces are then carefully bonded onto the area of the tooth that is damaged. An inlay is comparable to a dental filling. It is applied inside of the cusp tips of the tooth we are working on. An onlay extends out and over at least one of the cusps of the tooth and provides a sturdier reconstruction.

In past years, gold was used for inlays and overlays, but porcelain or zirconia has lately become a much more popular choice. This is purely due to the esthetic nature of porcelain and zirconia. Gold is still more durable and kinder to the gums and the opposing teeth. At Cosmetic Micro Dentistry, we offer multiple materials to fit your individual needs.

How are inlays and onlays put on?

Both will require two appointments to be made. The first appointment will be to remove the issue that is causing the need for the procedure, such as a damaged filling or decayed part of your tooth. Your tooth will be carefully prepared for the inlay or onlay. To make sure you will be able to bite down properly, we will take an impression of the tooth and send it to our lab for fabrication. Dr. Muneer will apply a short-term sealant to the tooth. You can then schedule your next appointment.

The temporary sealant will be taken off at your second appointment and Dr. Muneer will check to ensure that the inlay or onlay is fitting correctly. If so, it will be bonded with a strong resin to your tooth and we will polish it to make it smooth.

What to consider when you decide on an inlay or onlay

A traditional filling can cause the strength of your natural tooth to be diminished by 50 percent. When you have an inlay or onlay applied directly to your tooth, it can increase your tooth’s strength by 75 percent. This means your inlay or onlay can last anywhere from 10 to 30 years with proper care. If you have a tooth that doesn’t meet the damage requirements for a dental crown, onlays are the perfect alternative.