Inlays/Onlays are restorations made of either porcelain, composite, or gold and they are bonded or cemented to the tooth in order to restore the damaged portion of the tooth. These restorations are fabricated in the dental laboratory by trained technicians. Inlays are the most conservative of the restorations and are used when only small areas in between the peaks of the teeth have been damaged and need repair. Onlays are more substantial and cover the peaks or cusp tips of the teeth.
Considerations when deciding on the type of tooth restorations
How many visits?
Inlays and onlays are stronger than the materials that are placed during a filling process. The amount of damage and extent of tooth loss will dictate the best or most optimal type of restoration for a tooth. Unfortunately, when a tooth needs restoration, direct fillings can weaken the remaining tooth structure. The inlay or onlay options will actually strengthen the tooth by being bonded into place with special high strength cements and resins. The process of delivering the treatment to the patient requires two visits when delivering inlays and onlays. At the first visit the patient has the damaged or broken area of the tooth removed and Dr. Mengedoth prepares the remaining tooth structure to receive the inlay or onlay. Next an impression of the custom shape of the restoration and tooth is taken. Finally, the doctor will place a temporary restoration in the prepared tooth. The impression is sent to the dental lab for fabrication of the final custom restoration.
At the second appointment the final restoration is fit and adjusted in order to ensure a quality seal. It is then cemented or bonded into place and finished and polished to make it smooth and virtually undetectable.