Why would I need an inlay or onlay?
It is best to get a dental check-up if you feel any pain or discomfort or notice any cracked or chipped teeth. We offer emergency appointments for serious cases. Dental Inlays and Onlays are needed in the following scenarios:
- Large decay wherein a tooth filling wouldn’t be strong enough
- Root canal treated tooth with considerable amount of healthy tooth structure
- Tooth at risk for fracture
- Bite plane correction
Dental Inlays vs Onlays
Both inlay and onlay are fabricated in a dental laboratory which is made of porcelain, gold, or other metal; and are placed on the teeth positioned at the back of the mouth (premolars and molars). The difference of use depends on the amount of tooth structure that has been lost due.
An inlay is an indirect restoration for a large decay which involves the central part of a tooth’s chewing surface and may involve one cusp or tip of a tooth. On the other hand, onlay is an indirect restoration which involves more than one or all tips of a tooth.
Inlay fits in between tips of a tooth while an onlay covers the entire chewing surface of a tooth.
Comparing your options
Inlays, onlays, dental fillings and crowns are all used in different situations, depending on the damage that has occurred to the tooth.
- Inlays and onlays are indirect restorations which are fabricated at the dental laboratory while tooth fillings are direct restorations which are moulded and placed directly at the prepared tooth on one appointment.
- Inlays and onlays are indicated for large decay involving the chewing surface and tips of a tooth while tooth fillings are great for repairing small to medium sized cavities.
- Inlays and onlays are less invasive compared to a crown. It requires minimal reduction of tooth structure compared to crown preparation.
How Dental Inlays & onlays are performed
The procedure for inlay and onlay requires two dental visits. You can read below the benefits of getting this treatment, not only can it save the teeth, but it also strengthens it.
At the first dental visit, the dentist will start by numbing the tooth to be treated with local anaesthesia. Then, the tooth will be prepared by removing the infected or decayed portion.
The dentist will use an impression tray that fits on your upper and lower mouth to get a mould of the tooth prepared. Your bite will also be registered using a specific dental paste to guide the construction of tips of your onlay. This impression is sent off to the dental laboratory, where the dental technologists will fabricate an inlay or onlay that will fit the tooth prepared.
While waiting for the fabrication of the inlay/onlay, the dentist creates a temporary filling or cover for your tooth to protect it until your next appointment. You should avoid eating sticky food, drinking extremely hot or cold beverages, and engaging in physical sports.
The dentist will remove the temporary restoration to place the fabricated inlay or onlay. Fitting of the restoration will be checked. Once inlay/onlay fits correctly, the dentist will use a bonding paste to cement the restoration permanently to the tooth.
Before the treatment ends, the restoration will be polished to ensure a smooth finish.