An inlay is a restoration that fits within the cusps (or bumps) of a tooth. An onlay covers one or more cusps. They are sometimes called “partial crowns” because they cover tooth structures that a filling or crown cannot replace. Inlays and onlays can be made of tooth-colored porcelain, gold, or composite resin. Since they aren’t made of metal, inlays and onlays won’t wear down opposing teeth.
Both inlays and onlays fit into a tooth similar to a filling, but they provide greater coverage. Like fillings, inlays and onlays can be made of tooth-colored composite resin or porcelain. An inlay fits within the cusp tips of a tooth, whereas an onlay fits over one or more of the cusp tips. Inlays and onlays can be made of porcelain or resin, providing a more consistent chewing surface than fillings.
Inlays and onlays are called indirect fillings because they are made outside of the mouth in a lab. First, we will make an impression of your tooth. The impression is sent to a dental lab, where an expert ceramist will create your inlay or onlay. While your inlay or onlay is being made, you will be provided with a temporary restoration. At your next appointment, we will check the inlay or onlay for fit and color and cement it in place.
Inlays and onlays, sometimes called partial crowns, are custom tooth restorations used to repair teeth with mild to moderate decay or damage. Inlays refer to a restoration that is made inside the cusps, while onlays are similar restorations that are made outside the cusps. Inlays and onlays are bonded to the damaged tooth for added strength.
Onlays and inlays require a laboratory process, so they are slightly more expensive than fillings. However, they offer several benefits. They are bonded to the tooth, so they strengthen the structure of the tooth. They reinforce the structure of the tooth, which can help prevent breakage. They also cover a larger portion of the tooth, so they improve the appearance of the damaged tooth. We will discuss the cost of these restorations with you after conducting a thorough diagnosis and understanding your candidacy.