INLAYS AND ONLAYS
When over half of the tooth's biting surface is damaged, Brock Dental will often use an inlay or onlay.
Inlays and onlays are often referred to as partial crowns. They use the existing tooth as a base and fit the inlay or onlay onto the tooth. This is done to strengthen the tooth, restore its shape, and prevent further damage. An inlay (which is similar to a filling) is done when there is no damage to the cusps of the tooth and the inlay can be placed right on the tooth. An onlay is a more substantial reconstruction, extending over one or more of the cusps of the tooth, where damage is significant.
The decayed area of the tooth is first removed during the procedure. A mold of the tooth is then taken and sent to a dental lab. They create a restoration made from porcelain, gold, or a composite resin. The restoration takes about 2-3 weeks to make, so a temporary inlay or onlay will be placed on the tooth for that time. During your next visit the inlay or onlay will be placed into your mouth and set with cement. Your tooth will look natural and you or anyone else will not be able to tell the difference.
The Benefits of Inlays and Onlays
Traditional fillings can reduce the strength of a natural tooth by up to 50 percent. As an alternative, since inlays and onlays are bonded directly onto the tooth using special high-strength resins, they can actually increase the strength of a tooth by up to 75 percent. As a result, they can last from 10 to 30 years. In some cases where the damage to the tooth is not extensive enough to merit an entire crown, onlays can provide a very good alternative.
Click on Educational Videos -> Inlays for more information on this topic.