Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and onlays are commonly referred to as “partial crowns.”  The existing tooth is used as a base and dentists fit the inlay or onlay on top of the tooth.  This procedure is done to help strengthen the tooth, restore its desired shape and prevent further damage.  An inlay is done when there is no damage to the cusps (where your tooth comes to a point) of the tooth.  The inlay is placed directly on the tooth.  When the damage to the tooth is a little more extensive, an onlay is used. 

When dentists perform inlay and onlay procedures, the first step is to remove the decayed area of the tooth.  Then, a mold of the tooth is taken and sent to a dental lab for further analysis.  Next, a restoration is created from porcelain, gold, or a composite resin.  This restoration process takes about 2-3 weeks to make.  In the meantime, a temporary inlay or onlay will be placed on the tooth while the restoration is being made.  During the next visit, the inlay or onlay will be fitted in your mouth and set with cement. Your tooth will look natural and you will not be able to tell the difference!

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