The chewing surfaces of your back teeth contain intricate grooves and fissures that can easily trap food and bacteria and are tricky to keep clean thoroughly. Consequently, these tooth surfaces often become decayed and must be restored with dental fillings. Your back teeth come under substantial pressure whenever you chew food, and while the composite resin is suitable for small to medium-sized cavities, it might not be strong enough to repair larger cavities. If you need a large filling, we may suggest an inlay or onlay and which is designed to repair larger areas of decay, restoring structure, strength, and appearance.
An inlay restores the central portion of your chewing surface, much like a regular filling. An 0nlay is slightly larger and can restore one or more tooth cusps which are the raised points on the inner and outer edges of the tooth.
An inlay or onlay is made from a strong, durable, and beautiful porcelain material or another hybrid ceramic-like zirconia. These materials can withstand substantial chewing pressures and are stain-resistant, so they will always look good. The shade of the porcelain is matched closely to your natural tooth, so that once in place, your inlay or onlay is virtually invisible.
These restorations are indirect, meaning they are made outside your mouth in a dental lab so you will need to see us at least twice. During your initial visit, we can prepare your tooth, first numbing it with a local anesthetic before removing the damaged portion and shaping the tooth for the restoration. We take a detailed dental impression of the tooth and send it to our dental lab, along with precise instructions for fabrication. While we make your restoration, we protect your tooth with a temporary filling, and you will need to avoid eating very chewy or sticky foods that could dislodge it. We remove the temporary filling and fit and bond the inlay or onlay onto your tooth at your next appointment. These restorations are precision made to ensure they fit tightly into the prepared cavity, sealing the tooth and protecting it against further decay.
Although they cost a little more, porcelain inlays and onlays are much stronger and more durable compared with composite resin fillings so that they will last considerably longer