Inlays & Onlays

When problems arise with your teeth, a dentist can provide a wide range of solutions. While many people generally think of tooth care as fillings or crowns, dentists have more specific terms for the types of repairs and fixes with teeth in the mouth. When you deal with large cavities or heavy tooth decay, you may need to see a dentist for inlay or onlay treatment.


The more you learn about treatments, the more you will understand the options for a healthy smile. Read through this guide to learn about inlays, onlays, and the impact they can have on tooth decay.


What Are Inlays and Onlays?

When a tooth has signs of a cavity or damage, a dentist will first look at the location and extent of the issue. If the decay occurs on the top layer of a tooth, then a dentist will likely rely on an inlay to fix the decay and regain the health of the tooth. For larger portions, a dentist will use an onlay. An onlay treatment extends beyond the top of the tooth and travels down the sides.


When Are Inlays and Onlays Necessary?

Typically, a dentist will consider inlays and onlays when a filling is not enough to treat the decay. Fillings work near the start of a cavity when the decay is not too deep or widespread. As the decay grows, you may need to consider other treatment options. Large fillings can overstress and weaken teeth. While inlays and onlays help teeth better maintain their structural integrity, creating a more biomimetic restoration. This more closely replicates the original structure of the tooth that is most resilient and strong.


A dentist will perform a physical exam to see the size of a cavity. X-rays and further exams will determine the size and depth of the cavity. From there, a dentist ill recommend the best treatment option.



What Materials Do Dentists Use for Inlays and Onlays?

Originally, dentists would rely on gold fillings for inlays and onlays. The gold would bond to the teeth and provide support for the tooth. As dental technology evolved, patients sought out more natural colors for inlays and onlays. Now, dentists can use natural tooth colored ceramics that more closely mimic tooth structure not only visually but in strength and flexibility as nature intended. This helps to restore teeth back to their original strength and health.


How Long Does the Procedure Take?

Thanks to modern technology and advancements in dental care, a dentist can typically complete inlay and onlay treatments all within the same appointment. Dentists who use CEREC technology do not need to wait for third parties or dental labs to provide materials or extra equipment for the procedures.


After a digital scan of your mouth, the dentist can perform and complete the treatment right in the office. The accuracy of a CEREC machine makes a precision fit restoration. The software allows for a custom designed restoration that fits, functions and looks ideal. The faster treatments (in a single visit) can help reduce post operative sensitivity in your mouth.


Drs Patrie and Kilimitzoglou can provide a full breakdown of the procedure, the length of time it takes, and how quickly you can return to tasks like eating and drinking.


Book an appointment with us today at e.s.i. Healthy Dentistry. We have advanced CEREC technology to help with all of your dental needs, including inlay and onlay procedures.