Dental inlays and onlays are restorations used to repair teeth with mild to moderate decay or cracked and fractured teeth that are not sufficiently damaged to need a crown. Dental crowns cover up the entire tooth right down to the gum line so you cannot see any of the natural tooth structure
An inlay can repair the very central part of a back tooth. An onlay is slightly larger than an inlay, repairing not only the central chewing surface but also one or more of the cusps or raised points on the tooth.
So, an Inlays and onlays are suitable for larger cavities in your back teeth, or your premolars and molars. The chewing surfaces of these teeth often develop decay as they contain some quite deep grooves and fissures that can be difficult to keep thoroughly clean from food debris and bacteria.
With an inlay or onlay, we will only need to remove a minimal amount of tooth structure when preparing your tooth. The inlay or onlay is then made to fit exactly into the cavity and is bonded into place, creating a strong and hard wearing restoration enabling you to chew without fear of the tooth cracking or chipping.
The procedure needs two appointments, any decay or damage is removed by drilling, which cleans and prepares the tooth for the dental inlay or onlay. The dentist will take an impression and sends it to a laboratory where the inlay is made and he will put a temporary restoration. At the second appointment, your dentist will remove the temporary restoration and then take time to ensure the inlay or onlay fits correctly, then bond the inlay or onlay to the tooth with a strong resin adhesive.
Inlays are manufactured from porcelain or composite resin material matching the color of the tooth, and provide almost invisible dental restoration while repairing the chewing surface. They help to create an attractive, healthy and natural looking smile.
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