An Overview of Indirect Dental Restorations: Inlays and Onlays

An Overview of Indirect Dental Restorations: Inlays and Onlays

June 1, 2021

Inlays and onlays are customized indirect dental restorations fabricated in the laboratory, which treat tooth decay and repairs structural damage. They are also known as indirect fillings. Unlike dental fillings, which have to be molded inside your mouth, Inlays & Onlays are made indirectly out of the mouth then fitted and bonded to the tooth. The inlays and outlays may be made out of porcelain, metal, or composite materials. This type of dental restoration gives the damaged tooth a fitting, stronger, and long-lasting solution.

At Danbury Smiles-George L. Landress, D.D.S, M.A.G.D, provides Inlays and Onlays services.

Difference Between Dental Inlays and Onlays

  1. Inlays

Inlays are molded and fitted into the chewing surface of a damaged tooth. They are fitted into the gap of the tooth but do not affect the tooth’s cusps. Inlays fill in cavities in your tooth in the areas between the cusps. Inlays are placed in a noticeable position in your mouth. Therefore, the material used is porcelain or composite, which are almost similar to the natural teeth color. Some people may prefer gold material for aesthetic reasons. Inlays are used for extensively restored or weakened teeth.

  1. Onlays

These are used for teeth that are damaged on the cusps and the biting surface. Onlays are used in the restoration of enlarged cavities that make teeth weak. They are filled in the cavities and the cusps to protect the decaying areas and strengthen the teeth.

Materials Used for Inlay and Onlay Restorations

  • Metal. The metal commonly used is gold. It is used for molars since it is a strong and durable material. Its color makes it different from the naturally white-colored teeth.
  • Composites. These consist of powdered glass-like material and acrylics. They make aesthetically pleasing inlays and onlays since they match the color of the natural teeth. They are suitable for people with misaligned bites or who grind their teeth.
  • Porcelain. This material matches the tooth’s white color and is the most commonly used. It is used for the front teeth for aesthetic reasons.

Perfect Candidates for Inlays and Onlays

Patients who have the following dental issues are perfect candidates for inlays and onlays;

  • Chipped or cracked teeth that are irreparable using dental fillings but do not need root canals or dental crowns
  • Teeth affected by severe cavities and dental caries
  • Teeth with defective fillings
  • Weakened and extensively restored teeth

Procedure for Inlay and Onlay Dental Restoration

Inlays and onlays treatment begins when you make an appointment with a dentist near you. The dentist will discuss your dental health goals with you and help you choose the right materials for your inlays and onlays.

  1. The dentist ensures you are positioned comfortably and gives you protective gear like a clear shield for your eyes.
  2. A local and topical anesthetic is used to numb the area around the tooth. This ensures you are not in pain during the procedure.
  3. A drill is used to remove the parts of your teeth that are damaged. The dentist files down some parts of the tooth to enable the onlays and inlays to stick to it.
  4. The dentist makes an impression of your tooth to make a customized, perfectly fitting inlay or onlay.
  5. The dentist cements a temporary inlay or onlay on the tooth as the permanent one is being made. It may last for a few weeks.
  6. Once the permanent inlay or onlay is ready, the temporary one is removed and replaced with the new one.
  7. The dentist smoothes and polishes the indirect filling until you have a comfortable bite.

Advantages of Inlays and Onlays

  • They preserve a large portion of the healthy tooth structure.
  • The materials used provide strength and stability to weakened teeth.
  • Fit perfectly into the cavities since they are custom-made.
  • They are aesthetically pleasing due to the materials used.
  • The tooth is easily cleaned since all edges are tailored to fit.
  • They provide a durable solution to your damaged teeth.
  • Seal teeth cavities perfectly and keep out bacteria, preventing further decay.
  • They eliminate worries associated with other types of dental restorations like lost or expanded fillings or even staining.

How to Care for Inlays and Onlays

  • Brush and floss your teeth at least twice every day.
  • Go for regular cleanings and check-ups at the dentist where you received the inlay and onlay services. This is to make sure that the inlay or onlay is in place and works correctly.

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