To repair damage involving over ½ of the tooth’s biting surface, rather than using
a simple filling, or a crown, a dentist will often use an inlay, or an onlay.
Inlays and onlays, can be porcelain, gold, or composite resin cast sections that
are bonded to the damaged area of a tooth. An inlay is similar to a filling and
lies inside the cusp tips of the tooth; an onlay is a more extensive reconstruction
that covers one or more cusps of a tooth.
Inlays and onlays are both traditionally made of gold; however, porcelain is now
becoming the material of choice because of its strength and potential to match the
natural color of your tooth.
Inlays and onlays are applied in two dental visits. At the first visit, the old
filling, or decay, is removed, and the tooth is prepared for the inlay / onlay.
The dentist will then make an impression of the tooth, and send this impression
to a dental laboratory. This impression will be used by the laboratory to construct,
a porcelain, or gold inlay / onlay that will fit exactly into your tooth. At this
time the dentist will place a temporary sealant on your tooth and schedule a second
At the second visit, the temporary sealant is removed. Your dentist will then ensure
that the inlay / onlay fits properly in the tooth and does not interfere with your
bit. Once correctly fit, the inlay / onlay is bonded into the tooth with a strong
bonding resin, and polished smooth.
Typically fillings can reduce the strength of the tooth by up to 50%. Inlays and
onlays, however, because they are bonded directly into the tooth with special resins,
can actually increase the strength of the tooth by up to 75%; as a result, they
can last from 10-30 years, and in some cases, provide a good alternative to a crown.
If you feel self-conscious smiling broadly or laughing out loud, because you have
dark, unattractive old fillings, then we have a simple painless solution for you.
Today, porcelain inlays are an ideal alternative to conventional silver or composite
Silver amalgam fillings make teeth appear gray, and old composite bonding tends
to chip and discolor over time.
Inlays are fillings that are made by a highly trained dental technician in either
porcelain or "artglass."
Inlays are extremely strong and long lasting, and they restore and protect the tooth
against further fracture.
Porcelain and artglass materials have been used for years in the fabrication of
crown and bridgework, providing natural tooth color and translucency.
Porcelain and artglass inlays like those you see at the bottom of this page match
your own tooth color, and are virtually indistinguishable from natural teeth.
Almost any silver or gold filling can be replaced with a beautiful porcelain or
artglass inlay. If you don't want anyone to see fillings in your mouth, then inlays
are an esthetic and enduring alternative!