Restorative dentistry has come a long way over the years and there are now several effective ways to repair decayed teeth. In this post from The Addison Dentist, we are going to concentrate on two similar types of restorations: dental inlays and onlays.
Where possible, an inlay or an onlay can be a less-invasive alternative to a complete crown and either one is usually more affordable than a porcelain crown procedure.
Inlays/onlays are “indirect fillings,” meaning that they are created in a lab and placed whole on the tooth. A traditional “direct filling” is applied to the tooth while the material is malleable and then shaped by the dentist.
An inlay is used to fix the surface of a damaged tooth, generally to fill a small cavity or a natural pit that is at risk for decay.
Typically porcelain or composite resin are used for inlays; these materials are heavy-duty and look very natural because the color can be matched precisely to the surrounding teeth. An inlay is exactly fitted to your tooth and looks, feels, and functions like the former tooth.
An onlay covers a larger part of the tooth. Because they cover such a large area of the tooth, they are often referred to as partial crowns. Onlays are commonly applied to the biting surface of the tooth. Just like inlays, they are accurately fitted to the damaged part of the tooth. Composite resin and porcelain are also the main materials used to create an onlay.
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