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38th Street Dental

The Inlays and Onlays Procedure

By Mike Meek, DDS on February 24, 2017

An illustration of inlays and onlaysIf you suffer from dental damage, inlays and onlays may be right for you. Restorative dentistry treatments repair damaged teeth for improved oral health. Many patients aren't as familiar with inlays and onlays and may have questions about the procedure. Learn more about the inlays and onlays procedure in this overview from Austin, TX cosmetic dentists Mike Meek and David Tasch. 

What Are Inlays and Onlays?

Inlays and onlays are restorations that are used to repair tooth decay and other dental damage. Both inlays and onlays are made of tooth-colored materials, such as porcelain like ceramics. Although both treatments are used to restore dental health, they are different from one another. Inlays are used to treat tooth decay within the cusps of the molars and may be used in place of traditional fillings or to replace old metal fillings. Onlays may be used when tooth decay or damage is too severe for inlays, extending beyond one or more cusps. 

The Treatment Process for Inlays and Onlays

The treatment process for inlays and onlays is similar and generally requires two dental visits. During the first visit, the tooth being treated is cleaned to remove any decay and debris. If an inlay is being used to replace an old filling, the filling will be removed at this time.

Once the tooth is clean and all decay is removed, an impression is taken of the tooth and sent to a dental laboratory where it is used to custom-craft the inlay or onlay. A temporary inlay or onlay will be placed while the restoration is being made.

After the custom-made inlay or onlay has been finished, a second dental appointment will be needed to complete the treatment process. During this second appointment, the temporary inlay or onlay will be removed and the finished restoration will be checked for proper fit and bonded to the damaged tooth using dental cement. Once in place, the inlay or onlay will be refined and polished to maintain proper bite alignment.

The Benefits of Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and onlays are a popular treatment option for restoring damaged teeth because of the many benefits they offer. Some of these benefits include:

  • Restored dental health: Inlays and onlays offer a solution to treating dental damage, including tooth decay and fractured teeth, helping to restore dental health.
  • Improved appearance: Both inlays and onlays can be made out of tooth-colored materials such as porcelain or composite resin for a seamless blend with the natural tooth.
  • Restores dental strength: Inlays and onlays are bonded directly to damaged teeth, adding strength to the tooth's structure.

Find out if Inlays and Onlays Are Right for You

Inlays and onlays can enhance the beauty of the smile by replacing old metal fillings or repairing untreated damage. For answers to your questions about inlays and onlays, or to find out if you're a candidate, we invite you to schedule a consultation with Drs. Meek and Tasch.

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