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Inlays & Onlays

When about 50% of your tooth’s biting surface has deteriorated, Dr. Frey will probably suggest that you need an onlay or inlay to repair it.

Exactly What is a Dental Onlay or Inlay?

They are various materials such as gold, porcelain or resin that bond to your tooth as a way to replace the portion of your tooth that is affected. An inlay functions much like a tooth filling. It is put on the interior of the tooth cusps tips. An onlay involves more construction because it extends over multiple teeth, or more of the actual tooth cusp.

Mark S. Frey, DDS - Santa Rosa cosmetic dentist

In the past, gold was the most common material used for dental inlays and dental onlays. But within the past few years, porcelain is used more often because it is stronger, and it has a color more similar to natural teeth.

How Do Dentists Apply Dental Onlays and Inlays?

Dr. Frey will need at least two dental sessions to apply your dental inlays or onlays. Either the filling is put in, or the damaged portion of the tooth is taken out. This is done during the first session so that the area is readied for your new inlays or onlays. To make sure that they will fit, Dr. Frey will make an impression of the tooth and send it to the lab where it will be fabricated. Then a temporary sealant is applied to your tooth.

The temporary sealant that was placed during the first dental session is removed during the second session. The inlay or onlay is positioned and is bonded to the tooth if it fits correctly. Dr. Frey has to use a very durable resin material to bond the inlay or onlay. Once it is bonded, he will polish it to make it look smooth and natural.

Additional Information about Dental Inlays and Dental Onlays

Your regular teeth can be weakened by up to 50% when regular fillings are used. Since an onlay or inlay is put directly on your tooth with a material that is very strong, this makes your tooth around 75% stronger. This means that your tooth has a lifetime of about ten to thirty years. If your tooth is not damaged enough to warrant a crown, then choose an inlay or onlay as an option.

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