What Are Inlays and Onlays in Dentistry? When Do You Need Them?
Apr 06, 2022

What Are Inlays and Onlays in Dentistry? When Do You Need Them?

Onlays and inlays are types of indirect dental restorations that help repair damaged teeth. They are manufactured as single solid pieces that fit perfectly into the allocated space on a tooth.

An inlay is quite similar to a dental filling, only that it fills in a tooth as a single solid piece, covering more tooth structure than a dental filling. An inlay typically covers the inside pits and depressions of a tooth but not the cusps thereof.

Conversely, onlays are similar to dental crowns. The only difference is that onlays cover less tooth structure than dental crowns. In this way, onlays are popularly known as partial crowns. Their coverage is only the top parts of a tooth, including the cusps, while a tooth crown encapsulates the entire tooth.

What Is the Procedure for Getting Inlays and Onlays?

The process of getting inlays and onlays is a lot similar to the process of getting dental crowns, particularly because they feature the same materials. The porcelain material needs shaping and molding to create a dental appliance that fits perfectly in your tooth.

The initial step involves preparing your tooth. The dentist will shave off part of your tooth enamel, removing any damaged parts. Afterward, the dentist will take impressions of the tooth and use them to create your onlay or inlay. It may take some time for your piece to be ready, and sometimes your dentist will place a temporary crown over the tooth as you wait.

The installation process is easy and fast because it only requires hardening the dental cement after the onlay or inlay is in place.

The Conditions When You Need Inlay and Onlay Treatments

Inlays and onlays in dentistry are often alternatives to other oral appliances. Ideally, dentists will employ inlays and onlays instead of dental crowns and dental fillings when there is a need.

Inlays are used in place of dental fillings, usually when the filling material needed is too big. It means that the dental filling would require extra reinforcement to hold it in place, so it does not compromise the tooth structure. Instead of all the hassle, the dentist will deliberate using an inlay.

On the other hand, onlays are used instead of dental crowns, usually when the restorative work required is not big enough to necessitate a dental crown. Ideally, it means that you need big tooth restoration, more than a dental filling or inlay can cover, but not large enough to get a dental crown. With that, some of the issues that onlays and inlays can correct include the following:

  • Dental caries and tooth decay
  • Broken teeth
  • Hypersensitive teeth
  • Damaged tooth structures

Should You Opt for Inlays and Onlays?

Ultimately, it is the responsibility of our dental team at Family Dental Care – Chicago to inform you whether you need Inlays and onlays procedures. Dentists will run you through the various oral appliances while explaining why you need onlays and inlays. It does not mean that inlays and onlays are superior to dental crowns and dental fillings. Instead, a dentist will use them when (s)he considers them better for restoring your teeth than their counterparts.

Benefits of Onlays and Inlays

Some of the following factors help patients validate the decision of Getting Inlays and onlays:

  • Sturdy material – porcelain is a reliable material in dentistry that can restore your teeth without fear of damage.
  • Durability – onlays, and inlays can typically last between 10 and 25 Years if you care for them properly.
  • Preserving more tooth structure – getting dental crowns dictates removing much of your tooth enamel to make room for the tooth cap. Lesser enamel needs to be removed when installing inlays and onlays.
  • Added restoration options to choose from – onlays and inlays are other alternatives for repairing and restoring your teeth. They prove useful for cases where dental fillings and oral crowns do not gratify your desires.
  • Relatively affordable – compared to getting a dental crown, you will find that onlays are more affordable because they do not cover an entire tooth.

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