Inlay / Onlay - questions and answers
Inlay is a ceramic dental restoration used for restoring natural dental crown when only the upper surface of the tooth is damaged, and it cannot be restored by a filling.
This ceramic restoration is used for bigger dental crown damages, where along with the upper surface of the tooth we need to restore the lateral surface as well.
When caries is removed and only the healthy dental tissue remains, the dentist makes a tooth impression. This impession is then sent to a dental lab where a dental technician makes an inlay or an onlay based on the imprint.
Fabrication and placement of this restoration generally takes a few days. The procedure can be done through two visits to the dentist's office. During the first visit the tooth is being prepared and an impression is taken, and during the second visit the restoration is placed to the tooth.
Inlay and onlay can be made of several materials, but modern dentistry mostly uses ceramics, because of its excellent aesthetic values.
Inlay and onlay have a considerably longer life span than a composite filling, and combined with quality oral hygiene they can last a long time.
Preservation of the natural tooth is always the best option for the patient. If it's possible to save at least a part of the natural tooth and restore it using inlay or onlay, then that should be the primary goal of the dentist and the patient.
Inlay and onlay will add extra stability and strength to the remaining part of the natural tooth. This particularly applies to supplements being placed on side surface of the tooth where stability of natural tooth is destroyed by caries.
Oral hygiene after placement of inlay or onlay restoration is not different from maintenance of natural teeth. Daily oral hygiene and regular checkups as well as removal of tartar and plaque will be sufficient for the longevity of placed dental restorations.
Inlay and onlay are not done by all dentists because of their complexity. Expertise of the dentist and equipment of the dental clinic are one of the main prerequisites for their fabrication.
After the fabrication and fitting of the restorations, they are cemented to the natural tooth using a special dental cement. Placed in that manner they will create a long-lasting and strong bond with the natural tooth.
Inlay and onlay cannot be removed after placement. Once cemented to the natural tooth they make a permanent and unbreakable connection.