Inlays and Onlays—When a Filling Just Won’t Do

Inlays and Onlays—When a Filling Just Won’t Do

Sometimes the biting surface of a back tooth fractures or there’s just enough decay that there’s not enough structure left to support a regular filling. When you have a sore tooth, it’s important to receive dental care quickly so it won’t develop into a state that requires a more expensive fix like a crown…or even total removal! Inlays and onlays are often the right solution.

Both inlays and onlays can be made of composite resin—a mixture of acrylic plus micro particles that have been cured for strength. Other options can be gold or ceramic.

An inlay fits in the grooves of the tooth like a filling, while an onlay covers or replaces one or more cusps, or points, of the tooth. There are two methods: direct, which are made of composite resin in the office on the same day, and indirect.

Indirect inlays and onlays are custom made, so this type takes two visits. During the first visit, we numb the area with a local anesthetic to make you more comfortable as we remove decay and shape the tooth. Then we take an impression model of the surface to be sent to the lab. They will make the final restoration piece to fit your unique tooth and bite. (We fit you with a temporary fix in the meantime.) On your next visit, we try on your custom made piece for size and fit. If it looks perfect we bond it to your tooth and seal it, and you’re good to go.

These dental repairs can last 15 years or more if you care for them properly. They protect your hardworking back teeth even better than a filling, making them 50-75% stronger! Composite resin expands and contracts like normal structure, so they are gentle on other teeth when you bite down, and it is natural-looking.

Call Reel Dental today to see what type of dental care is right for you! We’ve been at this for a very long time, and we take pride in caring for our patients like family.