Porcelain inlays and onlays are state-of-the-art, conservative dental restorations. Traditional fillings can reduce the strength of a natural tooth by up to 50%. As an alternative, inlays and onlays, being bonded directly onto the tooth using special high-strength resins, can actually increase the strength of a tooth by up to 75%.
Dental Inlays and Onlays can be thought of as dental procedures that are midway between a dental filling and a dental crown. They are normally used when there is not enough tooth structure to support a filling, yet there is also not enough damage to support a dental crown.
Dental inlays lie within the cusps on the chewing surface of teeth. A dental onlay, on the other hand, is more extensive than an dental inlay, and tends to cover multiple cusp areas. Both can be composed of gold, resin or ceramics. These pieces are bonded to the damaged area of the tooth. Traditionally, gold has been the material of choice for inlays and onlays. In recent years, however, porcelain has become increasingly popular due to its strength and color, which can potentially match the natural color of your teeth. Inlays and onlays are applied in two dental visits. At the first visit, the old filling, or decay, is removed, and the tooth is prepared for the inlay / onlay. The dentist will then make an impression of the tooth, and send this impression to a dental laboratory. This impression will be used by the laboratory to construct a custom-made porcelain, or gold inlay / onlay. At this time the dentist will place a temporary sealant on your tooth and schedule a second appointment.