Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and Onlays San Rafael, CA

Treat severe cavities on the rear teeth.

Inlays and OnlaysInlays and Onlays are typically used when cavities on the chewing surface of back teeth have become too severe to be treated with traditional fillings. The difference between an onlay and inlay is determined by the positioning of the damage in regards to the chewing surface of the tooth. If the damage is restricted to within the depression surface of the tooth (within the cusps) it is an inlay. If more extensive damage has progressed and the cusps must be recreated, it becomes an onlay.

Inlays and onlays can be created using gold, porcelain, or a composite resin colored to match your natural tooth. The latter two options are the most popular today due to their aesthetic appearance, but gold is still one of the strongest options. These restorations are a two-step process. First the tooth is prepared by removing decay or old materials then an impression is taken of the affected area. The impression molds are sent to a dental laboratory where a skilled technician fabricates the restoration. At the next appointment the inlay or onlay is cemented into place.

More information about inlays and onlays

Unlike fillings or bondings, inlays and onlays must be designed and crafted, and then bonded to enamel. Inlays refer to restorations that are bonded to the inner cusps of teeth. Onlays are set across a tooth’s biting surface and extend over the cusps. An inlay is used when the damage is confined to the biting surface, whereas an onlay is used for more substantial areas of injury that affect the outer tooth surfaces. Both types may be recommended to replace old, worn, or metal fillings that have become useless over the years.

First, Dr. Buttar will remove the old filling or clear out the decay from the tooth. Next, the tooth is prepared with the removal of a small amount of enamel. We take an impression of the tooth, which is then used to design your customized restoration right here in our office. In cases where we need to send your onlay to a local lab, you will be placed with a temporary restoration and return for a second visit. When the onlay or inlay is complete, you will be fitted with your new restoration and it will be bonded in place.

Inlays and onlays are frequently used when damaged enamel requires a stronger solution than a filling, but is not severe enough to warrant a dental crown. They are less expensive than dental crowns and preserve more of your natural tooth.

For answers to all your questions about fillings, inlays and onlays, crowns, and other tooth repair solutions, please contact North Bay Dental. San Rafael dentist Dr. Rupi Buttar and her team members are excited to help you get a beautiful smile you can be proud of.