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What are Dental Inlays and Onlays?

Dental Inlays and Onlays are also called porcelain restorations, or more commonly, porcelain veneers. They’re meant to replace teeth that are too severely decayed or damaged to save with simple dental fillings. Porcelain veneers can also be used to correct mispositioned teeth or close spaces between your teeth (also known as a “gap”).

In-Lays (Inside the Mouth)

In-Lays are placed inside the mouth, which can cause more discomfort than the traditional temporary filling. In-lays are used to make changes to the shape of teeth, often to correct a misaligned bite or to give a different look to stumped teeth.

On-Lays (Outside the Mouth)

On-Lays are placed on the outside of your teeth and cover a majority of the tooth. On-lays can last up to 10 years and are a great option for people with little or no enamel left on their teeth.

Materials for use for Dental Inlays and Onlays

With so many options to choose from, finding the right material is essential. Inlays and Onlays can be made of gold, composite, or ceramic materials. There are several materials for in-lays and Onlays but what materials are most effective?


Gold Dental Inlays and Onlays

Gold is an excellent option for Inlays and Onlays because it's extremely strong and durable. Gold is a popular option for dental crowns, but since it's a very expensive material, it's not often used as a filling. However, if you have front teeth of value, gold inlays and Onlays are a great way to increase the worth of your smile.

Composite Inlays and Onlays

Composite is material in between gold and ceramic. It's a good alternative to gold, but on the expensive side. Composite isn't super strong, though, so consider if you want to use it for something that can be broken easily.

Ceramic Inlays and Onlays

Ceramic is the strongest material of all. It also has the least tendency to break when you chew your food or drink hard things like a cactus.

What are the benefits of having Dental Inlays and Onlays?

  1. To enhance the appearance of teeth
  2. To correct a misaligned bite/a gap between teeth
  3. To change the color of teeth for a more natural look
  4. To avoid cavities
  5. To prevent breakage of teeth from accidental chewing on hard things like a cactus or firm foods, etc.

What are the disadvantages of having Dental Inlays and Onlays?

  1. Inlays and Onlays can be bothersome to eat with.
  2. The tooth will not feel natural, thus the person is not able to speak, chew and drink as naturally as with their original teeth.
  3. Damage could occur during the treatment process (tooth preparation).

Inlay/Onlay Procedure: Step-By-Step

Procedure 1

You will need to prepare your teeth for your Dental Inlays and Onlays with a tooth cleaning. Then, the dentist will make an impression on your teeth. This impression is used to create the In-Lays/On-Lays.

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Once you’ve selected a material, it’s time to observe how that material responds to different substances in the mouth.

Procedure 3

After the dentist has made your In-Lays/On-Lays, they will be adjusted for a perfect fit.

Procedure 4

You will probably need to have a temporary restoration placed until your Dental Inlays and Onlays are ready. This way, there are no gaps in between your teeth until you get your new Dental Inlays and Onlays.

Procedure 5

The last procedure would be setting up an appointment with your dentist. If you are having Inlays made, your dentist will clean the area they are putting them in with a special type of material. They may also need to file or grind down a bit of tooth for a better fit. Then, they will position the Inlays with dental picks. Once they have it in place, your teeth would be cemented with another special material that is used to harden it immediately so it doesn’t shift.

Who must have Dental Inlays and Onlays?

  1. Those whose teeth are too decayed or damaged to save with fillings
  2. Those who aren’t interested in the “chewing-associated discomfort” associated with temporary fillings
  3. Those whose natural teeth have been fractured or otherwise damaged to the point that restoration is necessary for their cosmetic outcome, rather than for function.

How Much Does an Inlay or Onlay Cost?

The cost of a Dental Inlay or Onlay will depend on the material of your choice. For example, a tooth made with gold will cost more than a tooth made with alumina ceramics.

Similarly, the price of an Inlay or Onlay is dependent on the materials used and the complexity of its design. A simpler piece will cost less than a more complicated one.

We should also note that different dental institutions may charge you differently for Inlays and Onlays.