Inlays and onlays are dental restorations that repair back teeth that have mild to moderate tooth decay, damage, or wear. These restorations are sometimes called partial crowns because they are similar to crowns, but they require less tooth preparation.
Inlays and onlays are custom fillings. They are designed to match the color of your surrounding teeth and blend in with your smile. These restorations protect your tooth by covering its surface and preventing further damage. Inlays and onlays are recommended when a tooth is severely decayed or injured, and a traditional filling or dental crown is not required.
When a tooth has been damaged to the point that a filling is not enough, an inlay may be recommended. Inlays can be made of porcelain or composite resin. These materials are bonded to the damaged tooth to restore its shape and function.
Onlays are sometimes called partial crowns. Like full crowns, they are custom fit to your tooth. Onlays are an alternative to fillings. Unlike a filling, an onlay restores a larger area of the tooth.
Onlays are recommended when a tooth is too damaged for a filling but not damaged enough to need a full crown. While a filling covers only part of a tooth, an onlay covers the entire chewing surface of the tooth.
Inlay vs. onlay
An inlay is used to fill an area inside the cusp tips of a tooth. An onlay covers one or more cusp tips. An onlay is sometimes also referred to as a partial crown. However, an onlay is not a full-coverage restoration like a dental crown.
The inlay and onlay procedure
During the appointment, the teeth will be numbed, and any decay will be removed. Your dentist will then shape the teeth and fit them with a temporary inlay or onlay. The temporary restoration protects the teeth while the final restoration is being crafted in a dental lab.
At our dental office, inlays and onlays are fabricated from a composite resin and typically take two appointments to complete. During the first appointment, we will prepare the tooth and take impressions. Then a temporary restoration will be placed to protect the tooth while your inlay or onlay is fabricated in a dental lab.
Benefits of inlays and onlays
Inlays and onlays are a type of indirect dental restoration. These restorations are custom-fitted fillings used to repair back teeth that have mild to moderate tooth decay or structural damage.
Inlays are used to treat decay or damage that occurs within the cusps (raised ridges) of a tooth’s biting surface. Onlays, on the other hand, are used to treat decay or damage that occurs within the cusps plus one or more of the tooth’s biting surfaces.
Please schedule an appointment online or call us at (480) 838-8558 to have a consultation with Dr. Christopher Payne, and we will be happy to help.