Inlays & Onlays

When more than half of a tooth’s biting surface is damaged, we often use an inlay or onlay to restore the tooth’s anatomy and strength.

What are dental inlays and onlays?

Inlays and onlays are used when the damage or decay to a tooth requires more than a filling—but less than a crown. Typically, inlays and onlays are made of porcelain, gold, tooth colored metal, or composite resin and are bonded to the damaged area of the tooth. Although similar to a dental filling in some cases may be stronger and long-lasting.

How are inlays and onlays applied?

Two appointments are required for the completion of inlays and onlays. Your first visit consists of Dr. Colaruotolo removing the broken or decaying area of the tooth, after the tooth is prepared, an impression is taken of the tooth to be sent to a dental lab to be fabricated by an expert ceramist. A temporary will be place until the next appointment. Your second visit,  Dr. Colaruotolo will ensure the fit of the inlay or onlay, if the fit is satisfactory, it is bonded to the tooth with a strong resin and polished to a smooth finish.

Considerations for Inlays and Onlays

Traditional fillings can reduce the strength of a natural tooth by up to 50 percent. Alternatively, inlays and onlays, which are bonded directly onto the tooth, using special high-strength resins, actually increase the strength of a tooth by up to 75 percent. As a result, they typically last from 10 to 30 years. In some cases, where the damage to the tooth is not extensive enough to merit an entire dental crown, onlays provide a very good alternative.

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