Inlays & Onlays

Replacing Fillings or Damaged Teeth

What is it and when is it appropriate?

Inlays and onlays are used to replace fillings or damaged and decayed teeth which can not be repaired with a filling.

Inlays and onlays are porcelain, gold, or composite resin, that is bonded to the damaged area of a tooth. An inlay is similar to a filling and is used inside the cusp tips of the tooth. An onlay is a more substantial reconstruction and extends out over one or more of the cusps of the tooth.

What are the benefits?

Inlays and onlays are longer lasting than resin fillings.

What is the procedure?

Inlays and onlays are completed in two appointments:

  • During the first visit, the filling being replaced or the damaged or decaying area of the tooth is removed, and the tooth is prepared for the inlay or onlay. An impression of the tooth is made and then sent to a lab where the inlay or onlay will be made. In the mean time, Dr. Kvinsland will apply a temporary sealant on the tooth and schedule the next appointment.
  • At the second appointment, the temporary sealant is removed. The inlay or onlay is verified that it will fit correctly. If the fit is satisfactory, the inlay or onlay will be bonded to the tooth with a strong resin and polished to a smooth finish.

Common Concerns and Questions

Traditional fillings can reduce the strength of a natural tooth by up to 50 percent. As an alternative, inlays and onlays, which are bonded directly onto the tooth using special high-strength resins, can actually increase the strength of a tooth by up to 75 percent. As a result, they can last from 10 to 30 years. In some cases, where the damage to the tooth is not extensive enough to merit an entire crown, onlays can provide a very good alternative.