Inlays and onlays are two methods of restoring normal tooth structure after decay or other damage. If the damage is not as drastic as to require a crown, inlays or onlays can be used to repair the tooth. They are also known as ‘indirect fillings’, because they are made in a dental laboratory and cemented or bonded to the surface of the tooth during a second visit.
What are inlays and onlays?
Inlay is a type of filling in which the material used is placed inside the cavity of the tooth. In this sense, it is very similar to a normal composite white filling.
Onlay filling is where the material is inserted not only into the cavity of the tooth but over the surface of the tooth as well.
They are often used in the back teeth which are traditionally, the teeth that we use the most and are also the most difficult to clean. Inlays and onlays can be made from different materials: gold, porcelain or composite.
Advantages of inlays and onlays:
- natural looking colour and enhance the overall appearance of your teeth
- strong, durable
- less likely to discolour over time
- they last much longer than a standard filling
- they save as much of the natural tooth as possible