Inlays and onlays are natural-looking and versatile.
At Lincoln Dental Practice, we recommend inlays or onlays in cases where fillings are no longer possible, but the condition of the tooth isn’t bad enough to require a crown. Custom-made in a dental lab, an inlay is placed within the biting surface of the tooth, whereas an onlay can cover a larger area. As well as being particularly useful in the treatment of tooth decay, inlays and onlays can help to reduce tooth sensitivity and further tooth loss. Inlays and onlays are popular because more of the tooth is maintained than with a traditional filling – and because of the quality of the materials used, they can also strengthen a problem tooth by around 75%.
Fillings, inlays and onlays are all used to combat early signs of tooth decay. While a white filling is made from a composite resin material that can be moulded to fill a cavity, inlays and onlays are custom-made restorations that are bonded over the top of the existing tooth. An inlay is placed inside the edges of the tooth, while an onlay sits over the top of the tooth.
Because inlays and onlays are designed to treat the earlier stages of tooth decay, there is typically less preparation treatment required than for a crown.
Like crowns, inlays and onlays require the patient to provide a dental impression, which is sent to a dental technician who creates a tailor-made ‘tooth’. Patients receive a temporary filling in-between dental appointments. When the inlay or onlay is ready, your dentist will permanently bond it into place.
No; just like with fillings, you can expect to receive a local anaesthetic and a pain-free procedure.
Typically, inlays and onlays are more durable than fillings and can last as long as 10 years or more.