Inlays & Onlays
Inlays are designed to replace missing tooth surface that occurs on one cusp the top of a tooth. Onlays are the same, except they are more extensive since they cover two or more cusps of a tooth. Both can be an alternative to more extensive crown work, or complementary to other procedures such as bonding.
At times, a dental crown may be recommended because it can be used to repair extensive and even structural damage. Inlays and onlays may be useful if you have a cavity that is too large for a filling to repair. While inlays and onlays are both designed to repair cavities or tooth decay, inlays are specifically used to deal with damage that does not extend past the center of your tooth. Onlays, conversely, are typically used for damage that does extend beyond the center of the tooth.
Inlays and onlays are useful because they preserve as much of as your natural tooth as possible. This makes cleaning your teeth easier. Similarly, some fillings, such as composite and traditional fillings, may shrink with time. Inlays and onlays don’t shrink and are also extremely durable and stable. Finally, inlays and onlays will not stain and can last for up to 30 years.