What are INLAYS?

An inlay is an indirect restoration that replaces a small portion of the biting surface of a tooth.

We call it an inlay because it goes into the tooth.

An inlay is an alternative way to restore a tooth that needs a filling.

An inlay made from composite or porcelain has an excellent fit inside the tooth.  A perfect fit lowers the risk of cavities and breakdown at the edges of the restoration.  It also creates a beautiful cosmetic restoration.

Inlays show increased strength over a traditional filling.  They are easy to clean and provide a glossy surface that is resistant to plaque buildup.

What are ONLAYS?

An onlay is an indirect restoration that replaces a larger portion of the tooth, extending over the biting surface onto the sides of the tooth.  We call it an onlay because it rests on top of the tooth.

An onlay is smaller than a crown and covers less of the tooth surface.  An example of a good indication for an onlay is a healthy molar that has broken off one of its cusps.  (The cusps are the raised portions on the biting surface that interlock with pits and grooves on an opposing tooth to chew food.)

Onlays consist of either metal or porcelain and completely restore the biting surface of a tooth back to normal function.

What is the Difference Between an Inlay & Onlay?

Both inlays and onlays are pre-formed in a lab before being bonded to the damaged or decayed tooth.

The difference of use depends on the amount of tooth structure that has been lost to wear or decay. Your dentist will help you decide which is most appropriate for you.

An inlay fits within the grooves that are within the cusps of your teeth. An onlay, the larger of the two, fits within the grooves but wraps up and over the cusps covering more of the tooth’s surface.

An onlay is used when the damage is more extensive and the restoration covers the entire chewing surface including one or more tooth cusps.

The Benefits

Inlays and onlays have several benefits:

  • They are made from high quality material. Onlays can be delivered Same Day
  • They are extremely durable and can last for many years with proper care.
  • They can treat your tooth decay while preserving the structure of your tooth.
  • They can eliminate tooth sensitivity and tooth loss.

The Risks

Most of the risks for inlays and onlays are associated with the anesthetic that is used to numb the area around the tooth. This allows dentists to properly clean and prepare your tooth for the inlay and onlay while you can rest comfortably in the dentist’s chair. If you are taking any medication that may react to anesthetic, make sure to inform your dentist before the treatment.

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Definition of Dental Terminology

Anesthetic Injection
An anesthetic injection is when a dental professional injects anesthesia into the veins to administer the drug that will help the patient not feel any sensation during the appointment.

Ceramic Restoration
A ceramic restoration is a dental restoration that consists of a ceramic, tooth-colored material that blends into the surrounding teeth.

CEREC AC Connect
CEREC AC Connect allows dental professionals to take digital images of the teeth and send them directly to a dental lab for creation.

CEREC Omnicam
CEREC Omnicam is generates a full color scan of the teeth enamel without the need for a powder coating and is simple to operate.

CEREC Orthodontics
CEREC Orthodontics allow for orthodontists to create a 3D scan of the patient’s teeth without the need for an impression tray to make a mold of the teeth.

CEREC Smile Design Software
CEREC Smile Design Software is a tool that enhances the restoration process to create an accurate digital image of the teeth and what the patient will need to restore his or her smile.

CEREC Zirconia
CEREC Zirconia is a material with high flexural strength, biocompatibility and tissue-conserving preparation.

Cone Beam Technology
Cone beam technology enhances the process for gathering information and images of teeth in order to provide a much more precise treatment.

Dental CAD/CAM
Dental CAD/CAM stands for computer-aided design and computer- aided manufacturing dental software that creates a detailed image of teeth to enhance the process for customizing various dental restorations.

A dentist, also known as a dental surgeon, is a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases and conditions of the oral cavity.

Digital Dentistry Technology
Digital dentistry technology allows professionals to use digital software and other tools in order to create a dental implant or restoration that matches the patient’s exact specifications.

Screw Retained Crown
A screw retained crown is a dental crown that is held in place with a screw in the jawbone to make it easier to retrieve during a procedure.

Temporary Prosthesis
A temporary prosthesis is a temporary product we will place in the patient’s mouth while a dental lab creates the customized and final prosthesis.