When a tooth has lost a significant amount of its structure one of the options for treatment can be an inlay or onlay.
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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: