Inlays & onlays

The structure of a tooth that has been damaged by tooth decay can be restored and repaired. Dentists can use porcelain inlays and onlays to fix teeth and to renew the strength of your bite. These are used when the damage done is too serious to be fixed with a filing but not serious enough for a dental crown.

What are Inlays and Onlays?

Inlays and onlays are also known as a partial crown and are made from materials such as porcelain. An inlay is used to restore damage in the centre of the tooth that has not reached the cusps whereas an onlay is used when the damage has reached one or more of the cusps. Your dentist will discuss which one is best suited to your case. Inlays and onlays are a great solution as these can be custom made to perfectly fit your tooth. These restore the health and appearance of your smile. Once these are fitted they will be almost invisible. Generally, inlays and onlays can be completed in one visit.

Why Would You Need Inlays/Onlays?

If your teeth have been decayed and a filing is not good enough to fix the tooth, inlay/onlay treatment may be recommended. A variety of things can cause decay however regular visits to the dentist and good oral hygiene can stop decay from occuring.

An inlay will be used if the damage has not reached the cusp of the tooth. The cusp is one of the small sections of the tooth.

If the cusp of the tooth needs repairing the dentist may recommend onlay treatment. You might need this treatment if you have broken your tooth. A broken tooth can happen from wear and tear over time, chewing hard food or clenching and grinding.

Inlays and Onlays for Fillings

Have you got a filling that is dark and noticeable? Then this procedure can be used to replace them. Talk to your dentist about replacing your filings with tooth colored restoration that will improve the appearance of your mouth.

Benefits of Inlays and Onlays

There are two main benefits to this treatment and those are:

Maintaining Tooth Structure – Dentists can maintain a great portion of your tooth’s structure with this treatment. There is not as much prep work with inlays and onlays compared to a crown.

Cost – Fewer materials are used in this treatment compared to a crown and the tooth does not require as much prep work. These two factors mean that the treatment costs less.

Another benefit for this treatment is the high success rate. As inlays/onlays are custom made for every patient’s tooth, this makes the treatment last a lot longer.

Am I Suitable for an Inlay or Onlay?

Patients are suitable if there is moderate tooth decay or damage. Your dentist will need to examine you and discuss your treatment options in a consultation.

What should You Expect During the Inlay or Onlay Treatment?

The treatment will be completed over multiple visits to the dentist. On the first visit your tooth will be prepared for the procedure. An impression will be taken of your tooth. Your dentist may fit a temporary inlay/onlay while your permanent one is being made. Then once the permanent fixture is completed you will have the temporary one removed and the new one fitted.

Are There any Post-Treatment Guidelines?

Your dentist will discuss aftercare. The main things to avoid are hard or sticky food while the temporary fixture is in place. After your permanent inlay/onlay has been fitted you can eat, brush and floss as normal.