Inlays and Onlays
For rear teeth that don’t have enough damage to need a crown or bridge, inlays and onlays are great methods for restoring normal tooth structure after damage and decay.
An inlay is when the tooth structure is replaced within the cusps tips of the tooth. They can also be used to replace fillings. An onlay is needed for more severe damage and covers the entire chewing surface one or more cusps. They are a strong, supportive solution for moderately damaged teeth.
Benefits of Inlays and Onlays
- Repairs extensive tooth decay or damage without
removing the outer portion of the tooth
- More conservative methods
- Strengthens a tooth’s structure
- Long lasting
- Prevents the need for extensive treatment later on
The best candidates are those who have healthy enough teeth to not need a crown but have too much damage for a filling.
Both procedures require two approximately one hour visits to Dr. Witten. At the first appointment Dr. Witten numbs the area with a local anesthetic. The damage is removed using a drill, which prepares the tooth for its new surface.
After the damage is removed, an impression is made of the prepared tooth so the inlay or onlay material is made into a form that will precisely fit the tooth. A temporary restoration is placed on the tooth for protection until the lab sends the new one in about two weeks.
During the next visit, the temporary restoration is removed and the surface is cleaned. The new restoration made of porcelain, composite resin or gold is applied with special cement or bonding and the inlay or onlay is permanently attached to the tooth. Then Dr. Witten polishes the tooth.
How much do inlays or onlays strengthen teeth?
Because of how they are constructed, inlays and onlays can strengthen teeth up to 75 percent. Metal fillings only strengthen teeth up to 50 percent.
How long do they last?
The high-quality materials last up to 30 years, much longer than most fillings.
How long does it take to recover?
There is not much downtime. Usually the recovery is immediate and if there is any discomfort, over-the-counter medications are helpful.
How do I care for my inlay or onlay?
Inlays and onlays are easy to care for. Make sure you brush twice a day, floss once a day, be careful to not chew tough food where you got the inlays or onlays and see our office for check-ups and cleanings.