Restorative dentistry has come a long way over the years and there are now several effective ways to fix decayed teeth. In this post from Dr. Steven W. Haywood in Timonium, we are going to concentrate on two similar types of restorations: dental inlays and onlays.
An inlay or an onlay can be a less-invasive alternative to a complete crown and either one is usually more affordable than a porcelain crown procedure. Inlays/onlays are “indirect fillings,” meaning that they are constructed in a lab and placed whole on the tooth.
An inlay is used to fix the surface of a damaged tooth, ordinarily to fill a small cavity or a natural pit that is at risk for decay.
Typically porcelain or composite resin are used for inlays; these materials are tough and look very natural because the color can be matched accurately to the surrounding teeth. An inlay is exactly fitted to your tooth and looks, feels, and functions like the original tooth.
An onlay covers a larger part of the tooth. Because they cover such a large area of the tooth, they are often referred to as partial crowns. Onlays are generally applied to the biting surface of the tooth. Just like inlays, they are exactly fitted to the damaged part of the tooth. Composite resin and porcelain are also the main materials used to create an onlay.
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