Inlays and Onlays
In cases of damaged or decayed teeth, inlays and onlays are used when a full dental crown is unnecessary. These two methods are designed to recover the appearance and function of teeth that are too damaged to be repaired with a regular filling. The end result is a completely restored tooth that has both its full usage and an entirely natural look.
Inlays and onlays differ from a filling in that they utilize custom-made impressions of the patient’s teeth. Typically, inlays and onlays require two visits to our dental office. The first visit consists of taking impressions of the patient’s teeth, and the second visit involves permanently applying the custom inlay or onlay to the tooth.
An inlay is a very common procedure that is performed on teeth that are too damaged to be restored with a regular filling, but not so damaged that an entire crown is needed. It consists of applying filling material to the interior of the tooth, covering some or all of the area within the cusps, or points, of the tooth. Unlike an onlay, an inlay will not cover any of the tooth’s cusps. Because inlays are custom-fit using impressions of the patient’s teeth, the simple procedure results in teeth that are both stronger and more durable than teeth that have been treated with a standard filling.
When a tooth is damaged in such a way that the repair must cover at least one of its cusps, or points, an onlay is often used to restore its appearance and function. In certain cases, an onlay might be designed to cover the entire chewing surface of the tooth. When an onlay is applied, the filling material is usually directly fixed to one or more of the tooth’s cusps. Onlays are recommended to patients in situations when a dental crown is not needed, but the full restoration of the tooth is still required.
If you or a family member wants to learn more about how inlays and onlays can be used to restore teeth, please contact us to set up a consultation with one of our oral care specialists. You may call our office at (973) 556-7266 to arrange an appointment.