Inlays and Onlays

graphic of different ways a tooth can be fixed

Inlays and onlays are indirect dental restorations used when a filling is not enough, but a crown would be too much. Since they are indirect restorations, they are fabricated by a dental lab from gold, porcelain, or resin. Once fabricated, the inlay or onlay will be bonded to the affected tooth. If aesthetics are a factor, it will also be matched to the color of the surrounding tooth structure. Because inlays and onlays are customized for each patient, they tend to last longer than traditional dental fillings and may be a better option for some people. 

Did You Know?

A dental inlay is made to cover the center surface of the tooth, while a dental onlay covers the center of the tooth, as well as one or more of the tooth’s cusps (points). 

Frequently Asked Questions: 

Am I a candidate for a dental inlay or onlay?

inlay
Dental Inlay

You may be a candidate for a dental inlay or onlay if you have a tooth that has been affected by damage or decay significant enough to cover the entire center of the tooth or more, however the tooth is still mostly intact. Therefore your Kamloops dentist may determine that a traditional filling cannot properly restore the tooth, but a dental crown is not yet needed. If you have a decayed or damaged tooth, visit your Kamloops dental office to find out if you are an ideal candidate for an inlay or onlay. 

How are inlays/onlays placed?

Inlays and onlays are placed over the course of two appointments. During the first appointment, any decayed or damaged tissue will be removed from the tooth. The remaining tissue may then be modified in order to allow the inlay or onlay to fit properly. Once the tooth has been prepared, a dental impression or oral scan will be taken of your mouth and sent to a dental lab. While you wait for your final restoration, a temporary restoration will usually be placed to protect the tooth. After your inlay or onlay has been completed, you will return to your Kamloops dental office to have the permanent restoration bonded to the surface of your tooth. 

Dental Onlay
Dental Onlay

Do I need to follow any special guidelines after having an inlay or onlay placed?

Between the first and second appointments, you will be wearing a temporary restoration. During this time, you will need to avoid chewy and sticky foods that could dislodge the temporary. It is also recommended to temporarily avoid chewing on that side of the mouth. This is because temporary restorations are not as strong as permanent restorations and can fall out or become damaged easier. 

Once the permanent restoration is placed, you can return to your normal diet, however you should still exercise caution when eating anything hard, crunchy, chewy, or sticky. Although inlays and onlays are strong, they can still become damaged if exposed to too much force. With that being said, it is also important to avoid habits that can be harmful such as teeth grinding or clenching, chewing on ice or pens, nail biting, and using your teeth to open packages. 

Finally, to care for your inlay or onlay, you will want to continue with your oral care routine of brushing twice a day and flossing daily. It is also important to schedule regular dental exams and cleanings at least once every six months so your Kamloops dentist can evaluate the condition of your restoration. 

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