Dental inlays and onlays are less common than other restorative treatments like fillings or crowns, but serve a very similar purpose. These alternative options are used to restore larger portions of the tooth or to strengthen a tooth when a filling would not be strong enough.
Think of inlays and especially onlays as partial crowns.
An inlay may be a good restorative option when there is only partial damage to your tooth. Unlike a traditional filling, which is packed or “condensed” into your tooth, an inlay is like a puzzle piece, custom created to replace the specific missing part of your tooth. Once the inlay is fabricated, it is bonded to the remaining tooth structure. Porcelain or composite resin are the preferred materials for inlays and onlays due to their more natural look.
Onlays are very similar to inlays, but larger. They are commonly used to restore the biting cusp of a tooth and to restore the strength of a tooth. Think of it as a partial crown. An onlay can be used as a more conservative restoration.
At Mettler & Griego Family Dentistry, our goal is to provide you with healthy, beautiful and functional teeth for life. We strive to be conservative with our treatment recommendations.