Procedures

Onlay & Inlays

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Onlays

Inlay and onlay restorations are custom made fillings traditionally made of composite material, gold, or tooth-colored porcelain. Many patients prefer porcelain inlays and onlays because they resemble your natural teeth, and are much more durable than composite material.

Porcelain inlays and onlays can also be utilized to conservatively repair damage that is too severe to be repaired by a traditional filling, but not severe enough to require a full-crown. With this method, teeth that have large defective fillings or severe damage caused by decay or trauma can be restored without significant loss to the natural structure of the teeth.

HERE IS A LIST OF REASONS WHY YOUR DENTIST MIGHT SUGGEST A PORCELAIN INLAY OR ONLAY TREATMENT:

  • Broken or fractured teeth
  • Decayed teeth
  • Fractured fillings
  • A cavity that requires a large fitting
  • A specific cosmetic enhancement for which they might be the best solution

Inlays often make an ideal alternative to conventional silver and composite fillings, while onlays can sometimes be used in place of crowns (caps). For this reason, porcelain onlays are sometimes referred to as partial crowns. The two treatments are essentially identical except that the additional coverage onlays provide is used when one or more of the chewing cusps have been damaged and need to be included in the restoration.

Both porcelain inlays and porcelain onlays are manufactured in a professional dental laboratory and then permanently cemented into place by your dentist. While porcelain inlays and onlays are highly durable, they are not always permanent and may eventually require replacement. That said, these treatments have a long record of providing patients with a beautiful smile that lasts for many, many years.

HOW ARE PORCELAIN INLAYS AND ONLAYS APPLIED?

Placing a porcelain inlay or onlay is done in ONE VISIT.  Your dentist will numb the teeth selected for treatment and remove any decay and old filling materials.  The teeth will thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared by shaping the surface to properly fit your restoration.  With the teeth now set to receive the inlay or onlay, the dentist will digital scan the teeth in the CEREC that will be used to create both your custom porcelain inlay or onlay restoration.

The dentist will carefully and precisely cement your new restoration in place, making adjustments as necessary to ensure a proper fit and a comfortable bite. You will receive proper care instructions at the conclusion of your treatment, and, of course, good oral hygiene practices, a proper diet, and regular dental visits will significantly prolong the life of your new restoration.

Should you have any questions about porcelain inlays or onlays, please ask your dentist.

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A tooth where patient wants to remove an old amalgam silver filling.

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The final preparation, where the amalgam fill was removed. Instead of preparing the whole tooth as a full crown, only the necessary tooth structure is removed, preserving as much of the natural tooth as possible.

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The final porcelain bonded in place, with a seamless transition. This is part of Minimal Invasive Dentistry.