What is a dental inlay and onlay?
Dental inlays and onlays, otherwise known as custom made fillings, are restorations used to repair mild and moderate decay, cracked or fractured teeth where the damage is not big enough to require a crown. This allows the dentist to conserve more of the patient's original tooth structure. Inlays and onlays are durable, hard-wearing materials which can last over 10 years. Dental inlays are also used when an old filling needs to be replaced.
How are dental inlays and onlays done?
At the first appointment your dentist will numb the area around the treated tooth and removes any damaged or decayed parts. After cleaning and preparing the surface of the tooth, an impression is taken which is then sent off to the dental laboratory. Following the impression, a temporary restoration is fitted to protect the tooth.
At the second appointment the dentist removes the temporary restoration, trying in the inlay or onlay to make sure it fits perfectly. If so, a strong resin adhesive is then used to bond the restoration to the tooth. As a final step the dentist will polish it to ensure a smooth and aesthetic finish.