Inlays and onlays are dental procedures that are designed to repair damage to a tooth's biting surface. Inlays are similar to fillings and are placed in cavities to strengthen teeth from the inside. Onlays are placed over damaged teeth to restore their functionality. Both are typically made of porcelain and can match the color and shade of your natural teeth.
The procedure takes two visits to complete. The first visit is taken to prepare the damaged tooth. First, the old filling or decay is removed from the tooth. Then, an impression of the tooth is taken and sent to a lab to be used in the creation of a custom inlay or onlay. A temporary filling will be placed on the damaged tooth.
When the custom inlay or onlay is finished, a second appointment is made and the temporary filling is removed. The inlay or onlay will then be placed and tested. The dentist may make some adjustments if it does not fit properly or if it impedes function. Finally, the inlay or onlay is bonded to the tooth and polished. The final result will stay strong and look natural.
Inlays and onlays can last a long time if proper care is taken. They will not stain and they will keep teeth durable and well protected. However, inlays and onlays can fracture if they are used to bite down on hard objects. Normal dental hygiene and a healthy diet can keep inlays and onlays lasting long.