Inlays and onlays are another type of restoration used when a tooth needs to be restored but there is still healthy enamel and a crown is not necessary. Part of the restoration is done outside of the mouth i.e., they are fabricated at a lab.
An inlay restoration is much like a filling (above) but the filling is made at a lab and cemented into place at a second appointment. Materials used for an inlay restoration include porcelain or gold. Inlays are usually used for the back teeth. An onlay restoration covers, protects or reinforces one or more cusps of a tooth and is usually used for front facial or lingual locations.
The dentist removes decay and takes an impression of the tooth. The restoration is fabricated at a lab. Until the next appointment, a temporary restoration is placed on the tooth. At the next appointment the temporary restoration is removed and the lab processed restoration is cemented into the tooth.
Advantages of Inlay / Onlay:
- Unless gold is used, the restoration is very natural looking
- Very durable and long lasting restoration
- The materials used do not stain
- The affected tooth is well sealed to prevent decay
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