Inlays and onlays are dental restorations that are used by dentists in order to repair the back teeth that are suffering from mild to moderate decay. They can also be used to repair fractured or cracked teeth that are decaying, but are not damaged enough to warrant a crown.

Inlays and onlays are usually used for patients suffering from enough damage in their oral cavity that the tooth structure cannot be treated using a filling, but have enough healthy tooth remaining that there is no need for a crown. In essence, inlays and onlays can be used for patients suffering from a midlevel of tooth decay. Inlays and onlays allow us to conserve more of the original tooth structure of the patient.

While some people consider inlays and onlays to be more of a cosmetic procedure, this cannot be further from the truth. There are several different types of benefits of using inlays and onlays compared to using metal fillings including:

  • Inlays and onlays help to strengthen the damaged teeth by nearly up to 75 percent. In case of traditional metal fillings, they are known to reduce the strength of the teeth by nearly up to 50 percent.
  • Inlays and onlays are known to prolong the life of the tooth and therefore help to prevent the need for further dental treatment somewhere in the future.
  • Inlays and onlays are known to be more durable as they are made up of hard-wearing and tough materials that are known to last up to 20 years in some cases.

Much like fillings, dental inlays and onlays require local anaesthesia as well. However, this is mainly to remove the old fillings. Basically, inlays and onlays will be used in cases where old fillings are no longer useful and need to be replaced or removed. Much like a filling, dental inlay will fit inside the top edges, or the cusp tips of the teeth, while fitting dental onlays is an extensive procedure that needs to extend over the cusp of the tooth that has been treated.

For both inlays and onlays, once the filling has been removed, we will take an scan of the tooth with our CEREC scanner.  The new Inlay and onlay can be made from this scan and porcelain or composite resin materials can be used in the final restoration. Then, the new Inlay or onlay is cemented into place and it blends with the treated tooth in order to give the patient a more natural and uniform appearance.  For more information on the wide range of dental services at Quirke Dental Surgeons, please contact our friendly team at (051) 421453.

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