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Dental inlays and onlays

Inlays and onlays are like the deluxe version of fillings. They can correct badly decayed teeth, though they require time to prepare.

By Zeel Editorial Staff, Last updated: June 26, 2012

Dental inlays and onlays are teeth restoration procedures similar to fillings. Unlike fillings, they must be manufacured in a dental lab and are shaped to fit the tooth precisely. They are sometimes called indirect fillings because they cannot be inserted on the same day as the first visit to the dentist. (Fillings, on the other hand, may be created and employed in a dental office on the same day as the initial visit.)

Inlays are inserted inside a tooth, while onlays extend over the top of the chewing surface of the tooth, including one or more cusps. A crown is an onlay that covers the entire tooth.

Inlays and onlays are typically made of gold or porcelain. Resin is sometimes used as well. Gold is usually used for teeth at the back of the mouth, while porcelain and resin are used in the front of the mouth, where the inlay or onlay may be visible.

What It's Good For

Inlays and onlays are typically used to repair decayed teeth or teeth with cavities. They are useful for repairing the function of the bite without resorting to a crown.

Who it works for: Inlays and onlays are best used by people with significantly decayed teeth.

Recommended age range: Inlays and onlays can be used on any adult teeth. They are not advisable for children.

When will I see results?: The results are immediate following the second visit.

How long it lasts: Inlays and onlays can last from 10 to 30 years.

Key benefits of dental inlays and onlays: Because they are specifically created for individual teeth, inlays and onlays match the rest of the surface of the tooth. They are more tightly bonded to teeth than fillings, making it harder for bacteria to penetrate.

They are easier to clean and maintain and longer lasting than standard fillings. While fillings reduce the strength of a tooth, inlays and onlays increase it up to 75 percent.

Licensed uses: Inlays and onlays are used to improve the chewing surface and apperance of decayed or damaged teeth.

Find experts who offer dental inlays and onlays near you