There is a very high chance you’ve had a simple dental filling before, but you’ve probably never had an inlay or onlay, and you’re probably wondering what they are?
What are dental inlays and onlays?
Inlays and onlays are very different to dental fillings, where the decayed part of the tooth is drilled out and replaced with a composite tooth-like material that is moulded inside your mouth.
Dental inlays and onlays are very different as they are made inside a dental laboratory to fit into your mouth.
What is a dental inlay?
Dental inlays are the restoration used when the cavity is too large for a standard filling. Inlays usually cover the fissures and chewing surface of a tooth. Inlays are made inside a dental laboratory, based off impressions taken of your teeth. The inlay will be cemented into the cavity and should perfectly fit.
What is a dental onlay?
Dental onlays are larger than inlays as they cover the chewing surface and one of the cusps of a tooth. Onlays are also made inside a dental laboratory based off impressions taken of your teeth. They are cemented down into the cavity.
When are inlays and onlays used?
At van der Walt Dental we will choose to use an inlay or onlay if the damage is too large for standard dental filling to fix. Common situations for use involve:
- When a direct restoration (not made in lab) has failed
- Damage that doesn’t quite require a crown
- When optimal contour cannot be achieved using a standard filling
The advantages of inlays and onlays
There are many advantages for restorations that are fabricated inside a dental laboratory, including:
- Stronger and more durable
- Offer a more natural appearance
- Better contouring
- Less sensitivity
- Custom-fitted using impressions
Inlay and onlay treatment process:
During a dental check-up, the dentist may decide the best fix for a cavity is an inlay or onlay if the damage is too much for a simple filling.
To begin the treatment, our dentist will use a dental drill to remove the decayed and infected area of the tooth. After this has been removed, our team will take an impression of the cavity, which will be sent off to a dental laboratory. Before leaving, the dentist will insert a temporary filling into the cavity.
The restoration fabricated inside a dental laboratory will be extremely strong, durable and fit perfectly.
When we receive your restoration at van der Walt Dental, you will be called back in to have it placed. Inlays and onlays are placed in cavities using a permanent dental cement or resin which hardens quickly under a special light.
Inlays and onlays can be treated just like a normal tooth and should be brushed twice and flossed daily.
Contact our team for help filling a cavity
If you think you’re suffering from a cavity, dental decay or another issue, please get in touch with our experienced dental team in Bundaberg. For more information or to book your appointment, please contact us.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are inlays and onlays?
Inlays and onlays are dental restorations used for repairing damaged or decayed teeth. Inlays are custom-made to fit within the biting surface of a tooth and are used for smaller areas of damage, while onlays cover a larger portion of the tooth and can include one or more cusps. Both inlays and onlays are created outside the mouth and then cemented onto the tooth, preserving a more natural tooth structure compared to traditional fillings or crowns while providing durability and an aesthetically pleasing result.
How do they differ from fillings and crowns?
Inlays and onlays are indirect restorations used for moderate tooth damage, fitting within, or covering a larger portion of a tooth’s surface; fillings are direct restorations addressing smaller cavities; while crowns are comprehensive coverings for extensively damaged teeth, encasing the entire visible portion above the gumline, with the choice among these options determined by the extent of damage and the specific requirements of the tooth.
How is the procedure performed?
The procedure for inlays and onlays involves numbing the area, preparing the damaged tooth by removing the decay, taking an impression of the prepared tooth, placing a temporary restoration, fabricating a custom inlay or onlay in a dental laboratory, ensuring proper fit and bite alignment, bonding the restoration onto the tooth with adhesive, polishing it for a natural appearance, and making final adjustments if needed. This process restores the tooth’s form, function, and aesthetics.