What are inlays and onlays?

Inlays and Onlays are the middle ground solution between fillings and crowns (tooth cap).  Dental inlays and onlays are aesthetic treatment methods used when there is not enough bone tissue to fill and tooth damage is not substantial enough to use a crown.

What is the difference between inlays and onlays?

The difference between them is in the area of coverage of the teeth. An inlay is similar to fillings, however it is placed between the tubercles on the chewing surface of the teeth. On the other hand, an onlay is often used to cover one or more dental tubercles. However, an onlay is often used to cover one or more dental tubercles.

From what material are they made?

Inlays and onlays are made up of a ceramic or fibre-reinforced composite. 

Why are they preferred?

For teeth that received root canal treatment or severely decayed, an insufficient volume of tooth tissue after the removal of decay is observed. The desired anatomic form and contact can be achieved beforehand since the inlay or onlay is prepared on a mock-up. Also, the material is more resistant to erosion and chewing pressure than conventional filling material.

What is the lifespan of inlays and onlays?

The lifespan of inlays and onlays depends on the material from which they are made, the condition of the original tooth treated with inlay or onlay, the masticatory force , oral hygiene of the patient, and whether regular visits are made to the dentist. Inlays and onlays usually function properly for decades.

What is the procedure?

  • During the first session, the decayed part of the tooth is removed, the tooth impression and surrounding teeth are taken, the tooth is filled with a temporary filling material and the impression is sent to the laboratory for manufacturing.
  • During the second session, the temporary filling is removed and the inlays or onlays are attached to the tooth using a special adhesive.

How do I care for my inlays and onlays?

Maintaining a daily oral care routine which includes brushing the teeth, flossing, and keeping regular dental check-ups are needed for the proper care of inlays and onlays.

What are the advantages of porcelain inlays and onlays?

  • Aesthetically satisfactory
  • Durable
  • They preserve the remaining healthy dental tissue
  • Minimum risk of further decay and leaking around the edges
  • The restored tooth is a precise match to the teeth on either side

The Author of the Article: Dt. Kerem Adalet

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