Inlays and onlays are sometimes referred to as partial crowns. These partial crowns are utilized when there is still a healthy enamel portion of the tooth. An inlay or onlay is a like a puzzle piece that will be fitted into the remaining portion of the tooth to help increase its strength. This piece is usually crafted out of porcelain or gold, but can also be made of a composite material. We will make the determination as to which restoration will work best in your specific situation.
An inlay is used when there is not damage to any of the cusps of your tooth and is essentially place within these cusps. An onlay is used when there is slightly more extensive damage to the tooth structure. This type of restoration is placed over at least one of the cusps on the tooth.
When we have decided to go ahead with an inlay or onlay, we will set aside 2-3 appointments for the entire process. Although the majority of inlays and onlays are completed in two visits, there is sometimes a need for a third visit to ensure a proper fit.
The procedure begins with the removal of all decay in the tooth. Once we have removed the decay, we will take an impression of the tooth. This impression will be sent to our lab where your new restoration will be crafted. While this new tooth is created, we will provide you with a temporary restoration. Our temporary restorations will resemble your natural teeth so that you can continue with your daily life without worrying about a missing or incompatible tooth.
During your second visit to the office, we will proceed with the placement of your final restoration. The inlay/onlay will be fitted comfortably into the mouth. We will make every effort to ensure that the new restoration feels exactly like one of your natural teeth. The final step in the process is to cement the inlay/onlay into your mouth, leaving you with a beautifully restored smile.