If more than half of a tooth’s biting surface is damaged, Dr. Carbonell may recommend an inlay or onlay.
What Are Inlays and Onlays?
Both inlays and onlays can be made of ceramic substrates, gold, or composite resin and are bonded to the damaged area of the tooth. An inlay is used inside the cusp tips of the tooth while an onlay is a more substantial reconstruction, extending out over one or more tooth cusps.
Initially, gold was the material of choice for inlays and onlays, but recently, porcelain has become increasingly popular due to its strength and color, which can be crafted to match the natural color of your teeth.
How Are Inlays and Onlays Applied?
Inlays and onlays require two appointments. During your first visit, the damaged filling or decayed area of the tooth is removed. To ensure that the inlay or onlay fits properly, an impression of the tooth is made and sent to a lab for fabrication. Dr. Carbonell will then apply a temporary restoration on the tooth and schedule the next appointment.
At your second visit, the temporary restoration is removed. Then Dr. Carbonell will ensure that the inlay or onlay fits correctly. If the fit is satisfactory, it will be bonded to your tooth with a resin cement and polished to a smooth finish.
Considerations for Inlays and Onlays
Unlike traditional fillings (which can reduce the strength of a natural tooth), inlays and onlays can actually increase the strength of a tooth. In some cases, onlays are a good alternative when tooth damage is not extensive enough to merit an entire crown.