Inlays and Onlays
Inlays and onlays are a form of dental restoration used when teeth have suffered significant damage but still not too severely that a crown is recommended. Onlays and inlays are also used to repair teeth that have damaged and worn-down fillings. They are often considered partial crowns as they do not cover the whole tooth surface. Inlays and onlays help give strength to the tooth and avert progressive damage to the teeth and gums. At Camas Dentistry, we can help you restore your teeth and oral health.
Inlays are small dental restorations that partly cover a damaged tooth’s surface. Dental inlays come in two forms, direct and indirect. There is not much filing and grinding in both installations as they fit on the tooth’s surface. Indirect fillings are preferred when the tooth has endured too much damage to sustain a direct inlay. During the installation of indirect inlays, additional material must be used to support the damaged tooth on both sides. It is glued into place using dental cement or adhesive.
Direct inlays are pretty standard and also require minimal tooth preparation. Direct inlays have an already curved surface to match the natural tooth’s surface and are attached securely with a dental cement or adhesive. Long-lasting inlays are made of porcelain; however, gold inlays last as long, only they are more expensive than porcelain. Metal inlays are not as durable, but they are cheaper than porcelain or gold.
Dental onlays are similar to inlays, only that they are used to cover the entire tooth surface, including the cusps, and biting surfaces. Onlays help preserve the natural function, feel, and look of the tooth, making them a conservative choice. Onlays are typically preferred when the damaged area is too large for a typical filling. They are a preventative step to requiring further procedures, for example, a root canal. Before an onlay is prepared in the lab, a temporary could be placed over the damaged prepped tooth surface until a custom-fit is made.
Onlays can last anywhere from 10-25 years, depending on the care they receive. They do not last as long as inlays as they cover more of the tooth surface. Therefore, they can wear down and tear easily. Onlays are typically made out of the same material as inlays, although gold is not commonly used these days.
Inlays vs Onlays
The major difference between inlays and onlays is that inlays are smaller than onlays. Inlays cover a smaller surface than onlays which tend to be much bigger and thus are a broader procedure. Inlays are mostly preferred in place of fillings, and onlays are in replacement of crowns.
You will need more than one appointment to get an inlay or onlay placed as the dentist needs to take impressions of the tooth to make a custom fit. Direct inlays and onlays are placed and secured in one visit to the dental office, while indirect onlays and inlays have first to be made in the lab.
Book an appointment via 360-837-5992 or visit us at Camas Dentistry.