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Inlays and Onlays

Dentist in Warren, NJ

Inlays and Onlays

When is an inlay or onlay used?

Dental inlays and onlays offer an excellent alternative to “direct” amalgam or composite fillings to restore teeth that have sustained some damage, but not enough to require a full coverage crown.  While “direct” fillings such as dental amalgam and composite fillings  are placed immediately after the decay or damage is removed and the  tooth is prepared, inlays and onlays are known as “indirect” fillings.  This means that they are fabricated outside of the mouth prior to final  bonding or cementation.

What are inlays and onlays made of?

While in the  past, many inlays and onlays were caste from gold; today’s dental inlays  and onlays are typically custom made of either the highest grade of  dental porcelain or composite resins. In addition to providing an exact  match to the color of tooth for a cosmetically pleasing result, inlays  and onlays have the distinct advantages of being more durable than other  fillings, preserving more underlying tooth structure and actually  strengthening the tooth so that it can bear up to 50 to 75 percent more  chewing forces.

What is the difference between inlays and onlays?

Inlays and  onlays only differ from each other in the amount of tooth structure they  cover. An inlay is fabricated when the replacement of tooth structure  does not require coverage of any cusp tips. If the damage from decay or injury is more extensive and involves more of the tooth’s chewing  surface, including one or more cusp tips, an onlay is required.

Both inlays  and onlays are fabricated outside of the mouth based upon the exact  specifications provided by an impression of the prepared tooth. The  final inlay or onlay is then custom made by either a dental laboratory  or in-office with a same day system.

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