If you have large metal fillings that you want replaced or larger cavities that you want to make look more natural and function more like your natural teeth, you may want to consider a dental inlay/onlay.
What Are Inlays/Onlays?
A dental inlay/onlay is a custom-made and shaped insert that perfectly fits inside of a prepared tooth. It is securely bonded to prevent further decay and stabilize the surrounding tooth structure, and it looks completely natural.
Advantages of Dental Inlays/Onlays:
- The custom restoration can be colored perfectly to match the existing tooth and look completely natural. They are much more aesthetically pleasing than metal or amalgam
- Done correctly, inlays/onlays feel and function just like your natural teeth
- Inlays/onlays are stain resistant
- The porcelain inserts are very strong and once bonded, adds significant strength to the decayed tooth
- Porcelain inlays/onlays are very durable and made to last a long time
What is the difference between a composite-filling and a inlay/onlay?
A composite filling is made of a putty-like resin that is placed in a simple cavity and cured/hardened with a special light or laser. Dental inlays/onlays are hard custom manufactured inserts that are usually placed in larger cavities and areas where there is less tooth structure. They are bonded in place to stop further decay, make the surrounding tooth/teeth structure more stable, and look like your natural teeth. Also, a composite filling is a direct restoration, meaning it can be done in one office visit. Dental inlays/onlays are considered indirect restorations and require a special lab and experienced ceramist to create them so they can be placed during a second visit.