Inlays and onlays are used to repair or fill larger areas of decay in your back teeth. This is because a normal filling would not be strong enough to restore the tooth to full strength and there would be the risk that the tooth could fracture or chip, losing even more of its structure. Inlays and onlays can be made from precious metal alloys or entirely from porcelain so they are virtually invisible. Porcelain inlays and onlays are ideal if you require the very best cosmetic results. Advantages of choosing an inlay or onlay to repair your teeth include:
- Inlays and onlays are extremely durable as we use modern materials that can last for many years
- These restorations help strengthen teeth, protecting them against further damage
- A well-made inlay or onlay can help prolong the life of your natural teeth, preventing or reducing the need for further dental treatment in the future
Inlays and onlays are slightly different, as an inlay replaces the central part of the chewing surface of a back tooth. This area is particularly prone to decay as your back teeth have lots of tiny grooves and fissures that can be difficult to thoroughly clean. An inlay will fit tightly into the cavity, completely sealing the tooth and preventing further infection. An onlay can replace this central chewing area, as well as one or more of the cusps. The cusps are the outer raised edges of your back teeth.
Inlays and onlays are known as indirect fillings, meaning they are custom made in a dental laboratory. You will need two appointments for the work to be completed, but the final result should be a fully restored and fully functional tooth.