Ask somebody what an implant, crown, veneer, or filling is, and they will probably be able to tell you the answer. However, ask them what an inlay or an onlay is, and you will likely get a blank look. Many people do not know what inlays and onlays are, however, they are an extremely useful tool when it comes to dental restoration.
Inlays and onlays are essentially used as an alternative treatment to a full dental crown. They allow you to keep the structure of your tooth exposed while still supporting it sufficiently.
When a tooth has too much damage to be repaired by a normal filling, but not enough damage to constitute the use of a full crown, an inlay may be used. You could think of an inlay as a very large filling that not only fills a hole left behind by a removed cavity, but also goes up and fills as far as to the chewing surface between the cusps or Ridges of your tooth.
Inlays are commonly made of porcelain because it makes it almost invisible in your smile.
An onlay, like an inlay, is used to repair a damaged tooth. The difference is that instead of covering just the top portion of your tooth within the ridges, it also covers over the top of the ridges. It is slightly more material and slightly more coverage than an inlay. This allows for the reconstruction of a tooth with slightly more significant damage.
If you have any more questions regarding inlays and onlays please give us a call today or stop in to our office for a consultation.