What are inlays and onlays?

Dental inlays and dental onlays sit ‘in’ or ‘on’ a tooth and are a more conservative restorative solution than a dental crown as only a minimal amount of tooth structure needs to be removed.

An inlay restoration is a custom-made filling comprising of composite material, gold, or tooth-coloured porcelain. It’s created by a dental technician in a dental laboratory from a detailed impression mould and is permanently bonded into the tooth by our dentist.

Inlays can be utilised to conservatively restore teeth that have large defective fillings or have been damaged by decay or trauma. Inlays are an ideal alternative to conventional silver and composite fillings. Additionally, they are more conservative than crowns as less natural tooth structure is removed in the preparation of inlays.

Inlays are highly durable and will last many years, giving you a beautiful long-lasting smile.

Reasons an inlay restoration may be suggested for you:

  • Broken or fractured teeth
  • Decayed teeth
  • Fractured fillings
  • Large fillings.

 What does getting an inlay involve?

Receiving an inlay usually requires two appointments. Your first appointment will include taking several highly accurate impressions (moulds) that will be used to create your custom inlay and a temporary restoration.

Any decay and/or old filling material is firstly removed. The space will then be thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared, shaping the surface to properly fit an inlay restoration. A temporary filling will be applied to protect the tooth while your inlay is made in a dental laboratory.

At your second appointment your new inlay will be assessed for fit and comfort before being carefully and precisely bonded into place.

You will receive care instruction at the conclusion of your appointment. Good oral hygiene, a proper diet and regular visits will add to the longevity of your new inlay.

An Onlay Restoration

Where an inlay sits ‘in’ the prepared tooth, an onlay restoration is a custom-made filling also created from composite material, gold, or tooth-coloured porcelain.

Onlays are utilised to conservatively restore teeth that have had large fillings due to decay or been damaged by trauma.

Onlays are essentially identical to inlays with the exception that one or more of the biting cusps have also been affected and need to be included in the restoration.

As with inlays they are highly durable and will last many years, giving you a beautiful lasting smile.

Reasons for onlay restorations:

  • Broken or fractured teeth
  • Decayed teeth
  • Fractured fillings
  • Large fillings.

What does getting an onlay involve?

In the same process as an inlay an onlay usually requires two appointments. Your first is to create detailed impressions (moulds) that will be used to craft your custom onlay and a temporary restoration.

Your teeth is thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared, shaping the surface to properly fit an onlay restoration. A temporary filling will often be applied to protect the tooth while your onlay is being made.

At your second appointment, your new onlay will be carefully and precisely bonded into place. A few adjustments may be necessary to ensure your bite is comfortable.

As with all restorative treatments is it essential you maintain an effective at home oral hygiene routine and attend regular check-up appointments with The art of Dentistry team every six months.