Inlays and onlays are treatment methods that are used to restore the appearance and function of damaged teeth. While slightly more intricate than dental fillings, inlays and onlays are not as extensive as full dental crowns, and they are designed to retain more of the tooth’s original structure. At All About Smiles, we take great pride in ensuring that all of our inlays and onlays look natural and provide teeth with perfect function.
Since inlays and onlays utilize impressions of the patient’s teeth in their construction, two visits are required in order to complete this type of treatment. The first visit involves taking impressions of the patient’s teeth, and the second visit consists of applying the custom-made restoration.
A dental inlay is comprised of filling material that is bonded to the interior of a tooth’s chewing surface. An inlay will not cover any of the cusps, or points, on the chewing surface. Instead, it will only cover the area inside these points. Inlays are most commonly used when a tooth has experienced damage that cannot be repaired with a regular filling, but a full dental crown would be considered excessive. Because an inlay is custom fit to the patient’s tooth, the result is typically both stronger and more durable than a tooth that has been repaired with a standard filling.
Unlike a dental inlay, an onlay will cover at least one of the cusps, or points, found on the chewing surface of a tooth. In most cases, an onlay will be bonded directly to one or more of these points. Many onlays cover the tooth’s entire chewing surface. Onlays are best used when a tooth needs to have its chewing surface fully restored, but applying a dental crown would take away more of its original structure and integrity than necessary. With their custom-fit, onlays leave teeth stronger and more durable than before.
If you require an extensive dental filling and you would like to learn more about inlays or onlays, please call us at (479) 621-9700 to schedule an appointment.