Porcelain Inlays and Onlays
Modern cosmetic dentistry has provided us with advances in technology to help create custom-made fillings to fix structural issues with your teeth. Porcelain inlays and onlays are natural-looking fillings that help repair the surface of your tooth so that they will be stronger while helping to prevent future dental issues.
Both porcelain inlays and onlays are great for teeth with cavities that require a repair less extensive than a dental crown but are serious enough to need something more supportive than a dental filling. They’re also great for teeth that have small cracks or fractures that require restoration. Porcelain inlays and onlays are a conservative choice that ensures the preservation of the maximum amount of your own tooth.
While porcelain inlays and onlays generally serve the same purpose, there are subtle distinctions between the two, which are:
Porcelain inlays: Inlays are placed in the center of a tooth and bonded to it. They’re most often used for decayed or damaged teeth where the problem areas are shallow but wide, and near the outer surfaces of the tooth.
Porcelain onlays: Onlays may be necessary where a previous large filling has failed and needs replacing or/ if there is a large cavity that needs to be repaired. Onlays can also be used to repair damage to multiple cusps.
Each option is helpful by giving more support to your remaining tooth structure while minimizing the chances that you will eventually require further treatment, such as dental crowns, bridges, or implants.
How are Inlays and Onlays Different from Fillings and Crowns?
Dental fillings are used to address tooth decay on nearly any tooth surface. Dental crowns are placed over teeth that have been weakened by decay or trauma. Inlays address decay in between tooth cusps. Onlays address decay over and on tooth cusps. There are cross-over applications between all of these restorative services, but each is specifically designed for a different purpose.
Advantages of Porcelain Inlays and Onlays
As mentioned above, porcelain inlays and onlays are a great solution for when your teeth need intermediary restorations. They offer many advantages, including:
Custom fitting: Inlays and onlays require minimal preparation and preserve as much of your tooth as possible. By using impressions of your existing tooth, a mold is created that will fit tightly to your tooth.
Natural look: The porcelain used matches your existing tooth color and is unlikely to fade over time as resin fillings can.
Easy cleaning: Because of their precise fit, inlays and onlays are just like your natural teeth, while also being less bulky than dental crowns, making brushing and flossing an easy process. They are also stain resistant.
Natural feel: When correctly made they feel and function just as your natural teeth.
Strength: Once bonded to your tooth, the porcelain inserts add strength and support to the damaged tooth.
Long lasting: The porcelain material is quite durable and made to last a long time.
Safe: The porcelain material does not contract or expand with hot or cold foods and drinks, meaning they will not crack your teeth.