Inlays and Onlays


Inlays and Onlays are often referred to as partial crowns. They use the existing tooth as a base and fit the inlay or onlay onto the tooth. This is done to strengthen the tooth, restore its shape, and prevent further damage. An inlay is done when there is no damage to the cusps of the tooth and the inlay can be placed right on the tooth. An onlay is used when the damage is a little more extensive.


Much like a veneer or crown, an inlay first requires an impression of the affected tooth to be taken. This impression is then sent to a lab so the inlay will fit perfectly where the newly removed cavity was. This inlay is then affixed to the area and cemented in place.


If the decay is not contained solely to the middle of the tooth but comes up on the cusps of the tooth, then an onlay may be considered. An onlay is much the same concept as an inlay, only slightly larger, and may cover the top of the tooth, but not the entirety of it like a crown would.


Inlays and onlays can be thought of as the solution to tooth decay that sits right between a filling and a crown. Fillings are used when a small cavity is found in a tooth that can be remedied by filling the damaged area with a hard, tooth-colored plastic. This plastic does wear down over time, however, and if the cavity is too large, a filling may not be a good enough solution. When this is the case, an inlay may be the right approach.


There are times that a filling may not be able to effectively restore the tooth and a root canal resulting in a crown may be too aggressive of a treatment, making an inlay an ideal treatment.

The porcelain inlay is essentially a partial crown and is used to strengthen and restore the tooth back to its original healthy state. The inlay is created and cemented onto the tooth to re-create your beautiful smile.

It's important that you have a healthy smile and take care of your teeth. Inlays and onlays are a form of dental restoration that Dr. Basil Saiedy may discuss with you as part of your dental treatment plan. They provide many benefits including helping to repair tooth decay, are more durable than a filling (lasting up to 10 years if you take care of your teeth), and cost less than getting a crown.


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