When decay is larger, our dentists may recommend an inlay or onlay. Both inlays and onlays are fabricated outside of the mouth, and then bonded to the tooth. They are made of durable, tooth colored porcelain material. An inlay is used when the decay is mostly in the center of the tooth and the outer portion of tooth is healthy. Onlays are used when decay is more extensive and involves the outer portion of the tooth surface. Both inlays and onlays offer an excellent long term prognosis.
Single Visit Inlays and Onlays with CEREC means more convenience and Better Long Term Prognosis
What Can Patients Expect?
While inlays and onlays in other practices are often a two-visit procedure, we use CEREC, an innovative Computer Assisted Design and Manufacturing technology. CEREC enables us to create the restorations in our office in just one visit. With the CEREC system patients coming for an inlay or onlay will have their tooth prepared such that all decay removed. We will then take a 3D scan of the tooth. This 3D scan is more comfortable for patients and more precise than a traditional alginate impression. Once your tooth is captured, we will use special software to digitally design the restoration, and mill it from a porcelain block.
The restoration will be tried into the mouth before final cementation. Once the restoration is cemented, we will check your bite to make sure that it is comfortable and natural. The entire procedure will take approximately one hour.
Inlays and onlays are a type of restorative oral care treatment that can help fix the teeth that have signs of developing decay. Inlays are smaller and repair the tooth damage in the cusp of the tooth. Onlays, on the other hand, are larger and address the damage that covers a large surface area of the tooth. It can cover more than one cusp and are sometimes referred to as partial crowns.
Inlays and onlays are stronger and longer lasting than fillings. They are capable of covering areas that have larger amounts of decay and require less removal of enamel compared to getting a crown. They also tend to be cheaper than dental crowns.
It’s similar to having a crown placed. Inlays or onlays involve less removal of tooth structure than a crown would require. During your visit, after the area has been anesthetized (usually with a numbing shot), any decay is removed, and the tooth is shaped to receive the restoration. Next, a model of the tooth is made in digital form with CAD/CAM (computer aided design/ manufacturing) technology. Our office uses this model to create the actual inlay or onlay, which is then permanently attached to the tooth. The entire procedure is done on the same visit and takes about 1.5-2 hours on average.
They offer several good benefits:
They’re made of dental porcelain rather than metal.
This means they match your natural tooth color and cannot be distinguished as fillings.
They are bonded to the tooth.
In other words, they are structurally united with the tooth by means of a light-cured dental cement. This again makes them part of the tooth, not a separate entity packed into the tooth, like the old metal fillings.
Being bonded to the tooth strengthens it. They apply an inward force, pulling on the tooth’s periphery, holding the tooth together. In contrast, metal fillings apply an outward force, pushing against the tooth’s periphery, and thus weakening the tooth.
They are hard and durable. With good daily care, they will prolong the tooth’s life indefinitely.
Local anesthesia is given to the patient for a comfortable and pain-free procedure. Residual pain after the procedure is done is relatively rare and can be taken care of by taking over-the-counter medicines.