Inlays & Onlays

If over half of your molar tooth’s biting surface is decayed, an inlay or onlay may be a better option than a filling. These options are basically for when more than a filling is needed but less than a crown will do. An inlay is placed in between the cusps of the tooth, whereas an onlay will cover one or more of the cusps. They are created to replace the correct anatomy of the tooth.  The color of the porcelain can be created to match the natural tooth color and with the bonding cements that are used, the inlay/onlay blends seamlessly with the tooth structure.  The result is a beautiful, natural looking restoration.

How is the procedure performed?
Inlays and onlays are performed using very similar procedures. Both require two trips to our office. At the first appointment, the Dr. Lopez begins the procedure by numbing the area using a local anesthetic. The decay or damage structure is removed using a drill, preparing the tooth for its new surface. After all the damage is removed, an impression is made of the prepared tooth so the inlay or onlay material can be cast in a form that will fit the tooth exactly. A temporary restoration is placed on the tooth to protect it until the laboratory makes the new structure and it can be bonded to the tooth. This can take about three weeks.

Using the impression, a laboratory prepares the new tooth surface using gold, porcelain or composite resin. Upon return to our office, the temporary restoration is removed and the surface is cleaned to prepare for the new structure. Dr. Lopez will then try in the new restoration to ensure that there is a correct fit that doesn't interfere with your bite. If the fit is good, using special cement or bonding, the inlay or onlay is permanently attached to the tooth. Some minor adjustment may need to be made to the restoration if there are interferences. To finish the procedure, Dr. Lopez will polish the cemented or bonded structure and tooth.


Request an Appointment today for your inlays/onlays Consultation with Dr. Lopez.

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