Inlays and onlays are two types of solid restorations that your Leicester dentist at Glen Dental can recommend as a solution to a tooth that may be broken or heavily filled previously. They are a suitable alternative when it is no longer possible to fit a normal filling because of significant decay or damage in the tooth. Where possible, it is often used in the place of a crown- which can be a more invasive procedure and requires more tooth preparation compared to an inlay or onlay.
Inlays and onlays are most commonly used to restore function on the biting surfaces of the back teeth (premolars and molars) where they can help to restore strength and function.
Traditionally, gold has been used to make inlays and onlays because it is a hard wearing material and lasts for a long time. With advances in technology, gold has become less popular as a material for making inlays and onlays and tooth-coloured materials such as ceramic and composite have become the preferred materials as they are equally hard wearing and long lasting but can also offer a more natural life like appearance.
Inlays and onlays are usually created outside the mouth by a highly skilled technician/ceramist, with the aid of impressions taken of your teeth. While these are being made, your Leicester dentist will fit a temporary covering over your tooth. When your custom made inlay or onlay is ready for fitting your dentist will be able to cement/bond it into place using a special adhesive, after removing the temporary covering – fitting it within the confines of your other teeth so that it feels comfortable and natural.
Although more expensive, inlays and onlays are more hard-wearing than normal fillings. They can withstand larger forces and because they are very precise in their manufacture they fit the tooth perfectly making them easier to clean and helping to protect the tooth and gums from decay.
When properly maintained and looked after correctly an inlay or onlay can last for over 10 years.