What is the difference between Inlays and Onlays?
Inlays and onlays are similar to fillings but have slightly different characteristics. These restorations are often referred to as indirect fillings because they are made to fit within an area of a tooth using impressions and are then made in a dental lab. Direct fillings, on the other hand, are inserted directly into the area of damage and cured or allowed to cure naturally.
An inlay is a type of filling that is shaped precisely to fit into a cavity within the center chewing surface of a tooth.
Onlays are larger restorations that are made to fit over one or more of the cusps, or corners, of a damaged tooth.
Once bonded into place, the inlay or onlay maintains strong margins that keep bacteria from causing further damage where it has already occurred. The materials and techniques used to make onlays are the same as those used for inlays. In each scenario, the bonded restoration holds strong margins and is capable of withstanding the force of chewing.
Which is better – an onlay or a crown?
Many dentists and patients prefer to place onlays rather than crowns whenever possible. The reason for this preference is that, to place an onlay, minimal tooth reduction is necessary. Onlay treatment removes only the damaged portion of the tooth before bonding the selected material into the cavity. A crown, on the other hand, reduces tooth structure more significantly to allow the restoration to fit entirely over the natural tooth. Both crowns and onlays provide necessary repair and each has unique advantages and disadvantages. These details are discussed so patients can confidently choose which restorative technique is best for their needs and expectations.
How much do Inlays/Onlays Cost?
Inlays and onlays are indirect fillings that are made in a dental lab. These restorations may be made from materials such as dental composite, porcelain, or gold. The cost of treatment can vary based on the material selected and the skill of the dentist or ceramist who makes the inlay or onlay. When this treatment is recommended, we provide detailed information including the advantages and disadvantages of each type of material and the cost variations associated with them.
Who is a candidate for onlays?
Patients may benefit from an onlay when tooth decay, a tooth fracture, or other injury has damaged a large portion of the tooth. This restoration extends beyond the chewing surface of the tooth to repair enamel over one or more cusps. Onlays may be considered when outdated silver fillings need to be replaced.
Who is a candidate for Inlays?
Inlays may be used in place of a large filling in many cases. This restoration is contained within the central chewing surface of the damaged tooth. Candidates for inlays may need repair for:
- Fractured filling
- Fractured tooth
- Tooth decay
- Replacement of a large filling
How long will my inlay or onlay last?
Generally, inlays and onlays can last 10 to 15 years. Like most dental restorations, these will need to be replaced at some point. The timing of replacement depends on several factors, including:
- The strength of the supporting tooth
- The position of the onlay or inlay in the mouth
- The health of the nerves in the tooth
- The amount of tension and force the tooth endures
- The level and consistency of oral hygiene
Does getting inlays or onlays hurt?
Restorative dental treatment is performed using a local anesthetic. Before commencing with tooth repairs, we numb nerve endings with injections of lidocaine. A tiny needle is used to administer anesthetic medication. Patients feel a slight poke before tissue immediately begins to numb. While the tooth is being prepared for its new restoration, sensations should be limited to slight pressure. After getting an inlay or onlay, just as other dental treatments, mild soreness may be felt. Over-the-counter pain medication can sufficiently improve comfort, if needed.
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