What are inlays and onlays?

Inlays and Onlays are the middle ground solution between filling and crown (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 is in the area they cover in the teeth. An inlay is similar to a filling, but are placed between the tubercles on the chewing surface of teeth. 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 underwent root canal treatment or are severely decayed, there remains an insufficient volume of tooth tissue after the removal of decay. 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 chewing 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?

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

What are the situations to be careful about in daily life?

Regular oral care, which includes brushing the teeth, flossing, and regular dentist visits, is 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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