What Are Dental Inlays and Onlays?

What Are Dental Inlays and Onlays?

by Dr. Inna Chern | January 27th, 2021

Perhaps not well known to those not in the dental profession, dental inlays and onlays are used to restore broken, cracked, or decayed teeth. They are made by taking an impression or scan of the damaged tooth and creating a durable mold or image of the damaged area, which is then placed in the mouth. In this regard, they are similar to other restorative dental procedures, such as installing crowns or filling cavities.

What is the Difference Between Dental Onlays and Inlays?

Dental onlays and inlays differ only slightly, depending on the size of the amount of tooth being restored. An inlay fills in cavities but between the cusps of the tooth. On the other hand, an onlay can fill in a cavity but also corrects for a larger area beyond the cusps. Both inlays and onlays are made of the same material, which means the only difference is how that material is used.

How Do Dental Onlays and Inlays compare to Crowns and Fillings?

Crowns, fillings, and inlays, and onlays are all part of a dentist’s toolkit for restoring cavities and other tooth damage. Both fillings and inlays can correct for cavities and missing aspects of the tooth structure, but fillings are weaker and don’t last as long as inlays. 

The difference between an onlay and a crown is that an onlay by definition doesn’t cover the entire tooth, whereas a crown does. A crown is also used by dentists when the tooth damage is too severe to be solved with an onlay. Crowns cover the entirety of the tooth structure and provide the highest level of support. Onlays are a more conservative restoration made of similar ceramics and only cover what is missing thus no additional tooth structure is removed.

All of these restorative dental procedures are effective and long-lasting solutions that your dentist will consider as part of your personalized treatment.

What are the Benefits of Dental Onlays and Inlays?

The main benefit of onlays and inlays is that they can fill larger cavities than fillings and provide extra strength to the affected tooth, sometimes even increasing bite force tolerance. Because they are modeled precisely on the original look of the tooth and are made from very strong materials designed to look exactly like your own tooth.

How long is a Dental Onlay or/and Inlay Procedure?

Getting a dental inlay or onlay in New York takes two visits to the dentist. At the first, the damaged tooth is examined, an impression or scan is made and sent to our world-class lab for fabrication by a master ceramist. During the 5-10 days till the restoration returns from the lab, a temporary inlay or onlay is placed to fill the void of the missing tooth structure. During the second appointment, the permanent onlay or inlay is cemented into place and full function is restored to the tooth.

Onlays and Inlays in New York City

For complete dental care, including durable and long-lasting onlays and inlays, trust the dental professionals at New York General Dentistry. Led by Dr. Inna Chern, we’re here to serve Midtown East with comprehensive and individualized treatment plans. Whether you’re looking for cosmetic solutions or simply need a regular checkup, please get in touch with us by calling (212) 838-0842 or scheduling your appointment online.

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