Inlays and Onlays: A Good Alternative to Dental Crowns

Inlays and onlays are dental restorations that are a good alternative to full coverage crowns. Inlays and onlays are also known as indirect fillings that offer a longer lasting, better fitting, reparative solution to tooth decay, beneficial both esthetically and functionally.

Although inlays and onlays are an alternative to traditional dental fillings, the two are extremely different:

  • Traditional Dental Fillings- are molded into place within the mouth during a dental visit until the desired bite and a natural shape is achieved.
  • Inlays and Onlays– are fabricated indirectly in a dental lab and then fitted and bonded during a second dental appointment.

Distinguishing from an inlay and an onlay depends on the placement of the material; the restoration is called an “inlay” when the material is placed within the center of a tooth and it is called an “onlay” when the extent of the damage requires full coverage of the biting surface.

There are several benefits of inlays and onlays that are often the deciding factor in choosing them over traditional dental fillings:

  • They provide a superior fit by preserving a much healthy tooth as possible.
  • They are not likely to discolor over-time.
  • They preserve the maximum amount of healthy tooth structure and restore decayed or damaged areas.
  • They are easier than full coverage restorative alternatives such as dental crowns.
  • They are better at sealing teeth to keep out bacteria.
  • They are extremely stable for the treatment of decay and can actually strengthen a damaged tooth.

An inlay or onlay procedure usually takes two dental visits in order to complete; during the first visit, your dentist will prepare the damaged tooth for restoration and a molded impression of the tooth will then be taken and sent in to a dental laboratory where the inlay or onlay will be fabricated. Your Denver dentist can create a temporary inlay or onlay at this time to protect the tooth while the permanent inlay or onlay is being fabricated. During the second visit to the dentist’s office, the temporary inlay or onlay is removed and the permanent one is applied and bonded to the prepared tooth.

Inlays and Onlays can be made from three materials:

  • Gold– best if esthetics is not a concern (with back molars or teeth not visible when talking or smiling).
  • Porcelain-offer the best esthetics and are often used on teeth visible during a smile.
  • Resin Materials– best for people who grind their teeth or those with misaligned bites.

For more information please contact Cosmetic Dentistry of Colorado today.

Call to schedule your smile evaluation with one of our Doctors today! (303) 495-6130