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Cosmetic/Restorative Dentistry

Porcelain Inlays and Onlays

Porcelain inlays and onlays are an exceptional and conservative solution to cavity pain, reduced chewing strength and general degeneration of the back teeth.

Inlays and onlays are related to fillings in that they replace damaged and decayed parts of a tooth. However, they are used for various situations and the method for applying them is also different. They are valuable tools in a dentist’s restorative repertoire because they occupy the area between standard fillings and more extensive crowns. Once fully fastened to a tooth, inlays and onlays replace the damaged and lost parts of the tooth and allow normal use with no change to standard at-home dental care.

Common Questions About Porcelain Inlays and Onlays

Inlay: A custom made porcelain filling that is cemented into the tooth.

Onlay: Larger than an inlay, the custom made porcelain restoration repairs inside the cusp and extended over one or more sides of the tooth.

  • Highly durable, stronger than composite fillings

  • More conservative than traditional crowns

  • A great aesthetic alternative to composite fillings

  • Customized to match your natural tooth shade
  • Dr. Faiella will evaluate the tooth or teeth in question to determine whether an inlay or onlay is the best treatment option. She will also discuss any alternative options.

  • Once the decision has been made to move forward with the inlay or onlay, Dr. Faiella will take an impression of the existing teeth before starting so that a temporary restoration can be made after completing the procedure

  • The area will be numbed so that you are comfortable throughout the procedure.

  • The tooth or teeth will then be prepared to create sufficient space for the inlay or onlay. This involved removing a small amount of tooth structure around the tooth, usually about 1-2 mm deep. Depending on the condition of the tooth, Dr. Faiella may need to build up the tooth with a composite material so that there is enough structure to retain the inlay or onlay.

  •  After the preparations are complete, an impression will be taken of your teeth. A shade will also be chosen so that the restorations will blend with your natural teeth.

  • This will be sent to the lab so that the inlay or onlay can be fabricated.

  • During the final appointment, Dr. Faiella will try in the inlay or onlay and make any necessary adjustments. She will check to be sure that your bite is normal so that no unnecessary pressure is placed on the new restoration.

  • The inlay or onlay is then bonded to the tooth and polished

This depends on several factors, including the material used and how you care for it. The average lifespan of an inlay or onlay is about 10 to 15 years, but they can last much longer.

  • Inlays and Onlays should be treated just like natural teeth –regular brushing and flossing are important. 
  • Be sure to visit the dentist every 6 months. 
  • They may require a little more TLC to prevent damage.
  • Avoid habits that may break your inlay or onlay, such as chewing ice.
  • If you grind your teeth in your sleep, wearing a sleep guard will help protect your new smile.