Inlays and Onlays Provide Lasting Strength and Repair

When you suffer from decay and damage that is too extensive for a filling, but not severe enough to require a crown, you may be able to receive an inlay or onlay. These restorations are made of quality materials to blend with your smile and restore the chewing surfaces of molars. As a conservative and durable restoration, inlays and onlays fall between fillings and crowns, to provide a minimally invasive, yet strong restoration when a filling is not adequate. Drs. Art Carpenter and Sejal Jobalia offer high-quality, custom inlays and onlays at their Kenilworth, IL, practice to restore the form and function of patients' smiles.    

Illustration of an inlay and onlay

The Structure of Inlays and Onlays

Inlays are smaller restorations that are often used to repair teeth that have suffered from pit and fissure cavities. The inlay will fit between the cusps of the teeth. Onlays are more extensive, and can replace one or more cusps, as well as extend down the side of the tooth. Both inlays and onlays are indirect restorations. Like a crown, they are fabricated in a dental lab. In contrast, dental fillings are direct restorations, created directly on your tooth structure.

Because they are lab-made from a solid material, inlays and onlays provide more structural stability than fillings, so they work well to repair large areas damaged by tooth decay or to replace smaller, failed fillings. Traditionally, inlays and onlays were made from gold, but today, they are often made from ceramic, porcelain fused to metal (PFM), or zirconia to blend with natural tooth color. In addition, these restorations are highly durable and can last up to 20 years with proper care and oral hygiene.

Placement Procedure

You can expect to attend two dental appointments to complete this restorative procedure. During your first visit, we will remove all decay or damaged tissue and prepare your tooth. We will shape your tooth to properly support your restoration, preserving as much of your natural structure as possible. We will then take impressions, which we will send to our advanced partner lab to create your inlay or onlay. It usually takes about two weeks for your restoration to be completed, during which time, we will provide you with a temporary.

Inlays and onlays are highly durable and can last up to 20 years with proper care and oral hygiene.

At the lab, a ceramist or technician will fabricate your inlay or onlay, according to our high standards, and using excellent dental materials. Your restoration will be created to match your bite and the shade of your smile. When you return for the second visit, we will remove your temporary and permanently attach the lab-made inlay or onlay. One of our doctors will check your bite, to make sure that opposing teeth fit well against your new restoration. If necessary, we can make adjustments for a proper fit. 

Receive Vital Restorations

We provide early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of oral health issues, and promise to deliver quality, comprehensive dental care using innovative technology. Contact us today to schedule your initial exam. 

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