Inlays & Onlays
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Inlays & Onlays

General Dentistry » Inlays & Onlays

What are Inlays & Onlays?

When a tooth has lost a significant amount of its structure one of the options for treatment can be an inlay or onlay. An inlay fits into the tooth whilst an onlay also covers the top biting surface of the tooth. Both of these are usually manufactured in a dental laboratory using precision models of your teeth and are used where a direct filling is not thought to offer enough protection to the tooth for the long term.

Your dentist will evaluate your tooth first to ensure that the tooth is alive and the remaining tooth tissue is healthy. Your dentist will also ensure that you have enough tooth tissue left so that an inlay or onlay restores your tooth's looks and function for many years to come.

The stages for having an inlay or onlay are usually as follows:

  1. Evaluation of the tooth - Your dentist ensures that an inlay or onlay is the best treatment for your tooth. Tests including a dental x-ray will be used to ensure that as much information on the health and vitality of the tooth is available before a treatment decision is made.
  2. Tooth Preparation - Dependant on the type of inlay or onlay, your dentist prepares a very smooth walled cavity in your tooth to allow the inlay or onlay to fit well. Your dentist preserves as much of your natural tooth substance as possible during this preparation phase.
  3. Impression taking - Your dentist usually takes precision impressions of your teeth so that models can be made to allow the dental technician to construct your inlay or onlay.
  4. Fitting - Your dentist tries your inlay or onlay on to ensure it fits correctly, looks excellent and is in harmony with your bite. Once you are totally happy a permanent adhesive system is used to bond your inlay or onlay to the tooth.
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