Dental Inlays & Onlays

What are inlays and onlays?

Inlays and onlays are superior filling alternatives to the traditional one-appointment amalgam or resin fillings. They are restorations made of either porcelain, gold, or composite resin. An inlay has margins (borders) that stay within the cusp tips of the tooth. An onlay has margins that overlap one or more of the cusps. An onlay is sometimes preferred to a crown for conservation of the tooth. Drs. Brueggeman or Kopecky will evaluate the criteria in your situation to make a recommendation.

What is involved?

Inlays and onlays are made in two appointments. At the first visit, old fillings, damaged tooth or decay is removed. An impression of the prepared tooth is made and sent to a dental lab for fabrication of the restoration. At the end of the first visit, a temporary filling is placed. At the second visit, the final inlay or onlay is bonded to the tooth.

What makes inlays and onlays superior to other fillings?

The materials used in inlays and onlays are of greater strength than amalgams and resins. They structurally enhance the tooth through the bonding technique. There is also greater opportunity for detailing of inlays and onlays for improved appearance. Typically, these restorations require less frequent replacement making them a preferred choice for patients.