Inlays and Onlays

Natural-looking dental inlays and onlays can help to preserve the health of your teeth, protect from future damage and improve functionality.

Even though you might think you are taking proper care of your teeth, dental problems like decay can still occur. Inlays and onlays are often used on a tooth which has previously had a filling, developed holes, began to decay, or suffered some sort of mild trauma. If a filling is not enough, but a crown is too much, your prosthodontist may recommend an inlay or an onlay is placed over or between the cusps of your tooth to protect and strengthen it.

What are inlays and onlays?

Inlays and onlays are essentially types of fillings, but are usually required when a more extensive restoration is needed, or the tooth has suffered significant damage.

A dental inlay is similar to a filling and fits inside the top edges of the tooth to repair a large chewing surface. Chewing surfaces commonly develop cavities, as their deep fissures mean plaque and food can become trapped.

A dental onlay is more extensive and extends over the cusps of the tooth. It is used to repair a cavity in the central part of the tooth and extends over one of the tooth’s cusps (the raised points of the molar teeth.)

Inlays and onlays offer a conservative preparation which preserves and protects as much of the healthy tooth as possible, and are made on-site using our in-house milling machine.

What are inlays and onlays made from?

Inlays and onlays can be made from porcelain, gold or resin materials. Porcelain and resin materials are usually the more popular choice, as they can be made to match the exact colour of the existing tooth and are virtually invisible. However, gold inlays and onlays are far more durable and long-lasting, but, as the name suggests, are gold in colour.

How long do inlays and onlays take?

Thanks to modern dentistry techniques, and the experience of your prosthodontist, getting an inlay or an onlay is a virtually pain-free experience. The area will be numbed during the treatment.

Generally two appointments are required for inlays and onlays. The first involves the preparation of the tooth and an impression being taken, on which the restoration will be designed and created. At the second appointment, the custom-made inlay or onlay is meticulously placed and cemented in place.

How long do onlays and onlays last?

Inlays and onlays can be long-lasting if looked after correctly. Porcelain or ceramic restorations generally are weaker than their gold counterparts and so have a shorter lifespan. Typically, inlays and onlays can last up to 15 years. At some point, however, they will need to be replaced.

Dr Christopher Hart Prosthodontist provides inlays and onlays in Melbourne. To make an enquiry, or to book an appointment, please call our friendly team on: 03 9663 526.