Dental Inlays and Onlays can be considered an excellent alternative to composite fillings or direct amalgam fillings when restoring damaged teeth but not enough to place a dental crown. Unlike amalgam and composite fillings, considered ‘direct’ fillings, inlays or onlays are ‘indirect fillings’. Amalgam or composite fillings are placed immediately after the removal of decay. Whereas in Inlays and Onlays, it is fabricated outside of the mouth before final cementation or bonding.
Unlike earlier years when dental inlays and onlays were made of gold, currently, it is custom-made of top-quality porcelain or composite resins. Apart from being aesthetically pleasing due to its natural tooth shade, it is also durable compared to other types of fillings. In addition, it preserves the underlying tooth structure and strengthens the tooth, thus making it capable of bearing 50 to 75 percent more chewing forces.
Inlays and Onlays differ based on the amount of tooth structure being covered by them. An inlay is fabricated if the tooth structure replacement does not require cusp tips. However, for a more extensive injury that involves more than one tooth’s chewing surface, and which may include one or more cusp tips, a dental onlay is required.
Both inlays and onlays are fabricated outside of the mouth based on the exact specifications obtained from the teeth impression. The final inlay and onlay will be custom-made within a laboratory or the dental office within a same-day system.