When more than half of a tooth’s biting surface is damaged, Geneva, IL dentist Dr. Neeraj Khanna may recommend an inlay or onlay. These restorations can either be made of porcelain, gold, or composite resin. Traditionally, gold has been the material of choice for inlays and onlays. In recent years, however, porcelain has become increasingly popular due to its strength and color that can potentially match the natural color of your teeth.
What are Inlays and Onlays?
- An inlay is similar to a dental filling and used inside the cusp tips of the tooth. Inlays are typically used for minor to moderate tooth decay or damage.
- An onlay is a more substantial reconstruction, similar to the inlay, but extending out over one or more of the cusps of the tooth. Onlays are sometimes called partial crowns.
About the Inlay/Onlay Procedure
Inlays and onlays generally require two office visits. During the first visit, Dr. Khanna will prepare the tooth by removing any existing fillings. To ensure proper fit and bite, an impression of the tooth will be taken and sent to a dental lab for fabrication. Dr. Khanna will then apply a temporary sealant on the tooth and schedule the next appointment.
At the second appointment, the temporary sealant is removed. Dr. Khanna will then make sure that the inlay or onlay fits correctly. If the fit is satisfactory, the inlay or onlay will be bonded to the tooth with a strong resin and polished to a smooth finish.
Benefits of Inlays & 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.
With proper care and maintenance, inlays and onlays can last up to 30 years.