Inlays and Onlays.
What are they?
Inlays and onlays are alternatives to fillings. Fillings start soft, and are carved to shape in the mouth. Inlays and onlays are made outside the mouth, usually in a dental laboratory, and then glued to the tooth in the surgery.
An 'inlay' sits in a hole in the tooth. An 'onlay' sits on the tooth and builds up its shape. Inlays and onlays can be made in tooth-coloured porcelain, gold, or a material called composite. Different materials are suitable for different parts of the mouth and different parts of the teeth.
What does the dentist do?
- A local anaesthetic to numb the area may be given;
- Old filling material and any decayed or damaged tooth is removed first;
- A soft, mouldable material which sets in the mouth is used to record the shape of the tooth being repaired and of the surrounding teeth;
- A dental technician uses the impression to make the inlay or onlay;
- A temporary filling may be used to protect the tooth being repaired while you wait for the inlay or onlay to be made;
- At your next visit the inlay or onlay is glued into place. Small adjustments can be made so that the tooth is comfortable to bite on.
What are the benefits?
- Inlays and onlays are strong and can last longer than fillings;
- They are especially suitable for the chewing surfaces of back teeth and for large repairs to front teeth where it can be difficult to make a white filling look natural;
- They can be colour-matched to your other teeth.