Porcelain inlays and onlays are usually customized dental restorations, which are used to restore large cavities without having to use dental crowns. Dental restoration is called “inlay” when material is bonded within the center of a tooth and “onlay” when material is to be applied to one or more points of the tooth or full coverage of biting surface.
Inlays and onlays are permanently bonded to the tooth for additional strength and esthetic appearance. Often such onlays and inlays are used instead of traditional dental fillings to treat cavities or similar structural damage. While regular fillings are fitted into place inside the mouth during single visit, inlays and onlays are created indirectly in a dental lab and only afterwards are bonded to the damaged tooth.
Porcelain inlays or onlays are much better than metal ones, since they are bonded to the tooth and become part of it, providing long-lasting, stable solution for correcting tooth decay. Metal fillings can cause damage to the structure of the tooth over time, which won’t happen with the porcelain inlays, since they will only strengthen and improve tooth structure. The porcelain restoration can be matched in color of the natural tooth and look absolutely natural. With porcelain inlays or onlays you won’t experience any discomfort, since they feel exactly like natural teeth. Being strong, they provide necessary support to the damaged tooth and are very durable.
Inlays and onlays are done in two office visits. During the first visit, doctor removes the decayed part of the tooth or old filling and takes an impression of the tooth. After that, impression is sent to the laboratory, based on which inlay or onlay is custom-made for a perfect fit. Meantime, you will be wearing temporary restoration on the tooth. During the second visit, you will get permanent inlay or onlay securely bonded to the tooth.
With appropriate dental care, onlay or inlay can last up to 30 years. The best way to preserve the dental restoration is to practice oral hygiene, including brushing, flossing and regular dental checkups.