Inlays / onlays are used to repair tooth damage caused by decay leaving the patient with a natural look. An alternative to dental fillings, inlays / onlays can also be used if teeth surfaces are damaged but the damage is not extensive enough to require a dental crown.
Inlays / onlays can be made from porcelain, gold, or composite or ceramic resin, although porcelain is now becoming the material of choice because of its strength and potential to match the natural color of your tooth.
An inlay is similar to a filling and lies inside the cusp tips of the tooth. They are custom-made to fit the prepared cavity and are then cemented into place.
An onlay is a more extensive reconstruction that covers one or more cusps of a tooth. Onlays are indicated in situations where a substantial reconstruction is required. However, more of the tooth structure can be conserved compared to the placement of a crown.
Unlike traditional dental fillings, inlays and onlays are indirect fillings. They are custom-made in a laboratory and then secured into the cavity. This allows the cavity to be filled and the tooth to be strengthened using one dental procedure.
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