Fillings, Inlays, and Onlays

Fillings, Inlays, and Onlays

While filling cavities is not traditionally a part of a Prosthodontic practice, we are happy to take care of this, if needed, in conjunction with your other needs. Many times a simple filling is not enough to take care of the problem, in which case an inlay or onlay may be necessary.

When a large part of the surface of the tooth has been damaged, an inlay or onlay is the solution to maintaining the integrity of the tooth. Traditional fillings can reduce the strength of a tooth by up to 50%. Inlays and onlays, which are bonded directly onto the tooth using special resins, can increase the strength of the tooth up to 75%.

An inlay refers to repair inside the cusp tips of the tooth. The damage an onlay repairs is more extensive extending out over one or more of the cusps of the tooth. Two visits are required for the inlay and onlay procedure. During the first visit the tooth is prepared by removing the filling or decayed area and then making an impression. We will apply a temporary sealant to the area and schedule the lab for fabrication of the inlay or onlay.

Traditionally, gold has been the material of choice, but, increasingly in recent years, porcelain has been used for its strength and cosmetic advantages. At the final appointment, the sealant is removed, fit is verified, and then the inlay or onlay is permanently bonded to the tooth with a strong resin. The inlay or onlay is then polished to a smooth finish.

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