What Are Onlays & Inlays?
Onlays and inlays are pieces of porcelain shaped to restore part of your tooth after damage or decay. These restorations are custom-crafted fillings made out of composite material, gold, or tooth-colored porcelain. Often referred to as partial crowns, onlays and inlays are popular cosmetic treatments made by a professional dental laboratory and are permanently cemented onto the tooth.
There’s a bit of a difference between an onlay and an inlay. Inlays fill the area between your tooth cusps, while onlays cover the cusps. Both restorations don’t cover your entire tooth like a dental crown, instead, they restore the part of your tooth that’s been affected.
Reasons for Onlays & Inlays
Onlay and inlay restorations can fix a variety of dental problems, such as:
- Broken or fractured teeth
- Decayed teeth
- Fractured fillings
- Large fillings
- Cosmetic enhancements
How long do onlays & inlays last?
Onlays and inlays last for many years, only needing to be replaced every 20 to 30 years. Taking good care of your teeth plays an important role in the longevity of your restoration, so you’ll need fewer replacements.
Depending on where your restoration is in your mouth is also a factor in how long your onlays and inlays last. Heavy traffic areas, such as your back molars, may wear out your restorations quicker than those in the front of your mouth.
What to Expect During Treatment
The first step in your onlays or inlays procedure involves your dentist administering a local anesthetic to ensure you’re comfortable. From there, any infected areas of your tooth will be removed to prepare your tooth for its new restoration. Once the tooth is ready, your dentist will take an impression of the area to create the onlay or inlay. You’ll receive a temporary restoration until your customized onlay or inlay is ready.
Once your permanent restoration is ready, your dentist will remove the temporary onlay or inlay and clean your tooth. Then, your new restoration will be securely attached to your tooth, giving you a stunning smile.
Do I need to follow any post-treatment care guidelines?
Special care needs to be given to your teeth while temporary restorations are in place. It’s important to avoid sticky or hard foods that could cause significant damage to the temporaries. Your dentist will give you detailed instructions to follow after your procedure.
Once you receive your permanent onlay or inlay, you can resume normal eating, brushing, and flossing habits. It’s important to keep up with your regular oral hygiene practices to keep your teeth safe and help your restoration last as long as possible. Regular dental visits also ensure that your restoration remains clean and healthy along with the rest of your smile.