Inlay and onlay are indirect fillings or fillings made outside your mouth and it is used to rebuild and protect a tooth that has lost a large portion of its tooth structure due to decay or trauma. It can be made of Porcelain, Gold or Resin. In recent times, porcelain has become the material of choice due to the strength and life like characteristic. An inlay fits into the tooth whereas an onlay sits on top of the remaining tooth structure covering a more substantial missing area.
The procedure will involve the removal of remaining old restoration, fractured or decayed area. Impressions or scans are taken of your teeth and this is sent to our master ceramist who will create a life like tooth structure of the missing area mimicking the shape, colour and translucency of a natural tooth. A temporary restoration is placed while the inlay/onlay is being made.
During the fitting appointment, the temporary is removed and the porcelain inlay/onlay is tried in for fit and aesthetics. Once both you and the dentist are happy with the result, then it will be cemented or glued in place with a special resin cement.
A porcelain inlay/onlay is different to a direct resin filling. A traditional direct filling can reduce the strength of a natural tooth whereas an inlay or onlay can strengthen a tooth substantially. The inlay/onlay is bonded to the tooth using a high-strength resin which draws on the strength and rigidity of the porcelain to increase the strength of the tooth.
In some cases an inlay can be a good alternative to a direct resin filling. When the area to be restored needs to be reinforced or strengthened, then an inlay can be the most suitable approach.
An onlay is a more conservative alternative to having a crown, as less tooth structure is removed. This ensures that as much of the tooth as possible is maintained, which increases the longevity of the tooth. Also in situations where the tooth needs a crown to help protect the remaining structure, but the damage is not extensive enough to warrant a full crown coverage, then an onlay can be the best option.