A Conservative Restorative Approach: Inlays and Onlays

QuestionsAs you age, your teeth experience various types of wear and damage. The harm to your mouth can range from fractured and chipped teeth to tooth decay and root infections. If you are caring for your teeth correctly, the chance of these things occurring are reduced exponentially. However, if you injure your mouth, specifically your teeth in a traumatic accident, or accumulate decay, a conservative solution may exist for you. Dr. Hussong answers some frequently asked questions about restorative dentistry, specifically inlays and onlays. 

FAQs: Inlays And Onlays

Question: What are inlays and onlays?

Answer: Inlays and onlays are considered a conservative alternative approach to teeth restoration compared to dental crowns. They offer a middle-ground between fillings and crowns, in case the patient prefers or doesn’t need a crown to restore a given tooth. The inlay or onlay is a strong, durable, well-fitted restoration providing structural integrity and aesthetic beauty.

Question: How do inlays and onlays work?

Answer: Inlays are used to restore the inside or center of the tooth, acting as a traditional filling to treat damage or decay. An onlay restores the outer surfaces of the tooth or the cusps. Sometimes an onlay is called a partial crown because it’s used to reconstruct a section of a tooth, where a crown would cover an entire tooth.

Question: How long does an inlay or onlay procedure take?

Answer: In most situations, receiving either an inlay or onlay requires two dental visits. The first visit is to complete a consultation, take x-rays, and prepare the tooth receiving the restoration. The doctor will provide you with a temporary until your second visit. After the doctor receives the inlay or onlay from the lab, a second visit will be scheduled. During this visit, you will have the temporary removed, the inlay or onlay placed, and a secondary examination of the new restoration to ensure fit, feel, and function.

Question: What are the benefits of an inlay or onlay?

Answer: There are a few benefits that come with choosing an inlay or onlay. Some of those benefits are seen in the list below:

  • Virtually perfect fit
  • Tooth color restoration, enhancing your smile instead of dulling it
  • Added structural integrity to tooth
  • Easier to clean than a full dental crown restoration
  • Fits in tight spaces easier than dental crown

About Dr. Hussong

At Cornerstone Dental: Ryan Hussong, DDS is a dedicated restorative, family, and cosmetic dentist who is passionate about helping patients create and maintain beautiful, healthy smiles. Whether your smile is in the grips of a dental disease, or you simply want to learn more about protecting your family’s smiles, Dr. Hussong has the experience to help you protect, preserve, and restore your oral health. To schedule a consultation with us, call the Cornerstone Dental office today at (515) 984-6001.