Dental inlays and onlays are conservative dental restorative methods alternative to fillings and full crowns. They are commonly used to repair small cavities or replace old fillings in molar and premolar teeth. They are typically made from ceramic. Dental inlays are restricted to bonded material at the centre of the tooth, while dental onlays bonded material can extend further to one or more cusps of the tooth.
Inlays /onlays have the advantage of being less destructive than crowns, whilst being stronger than composite resin fillings and retaining the natural colour. Ceramic inlays/onlays are the ideal restorative material to replace old amalgam restorations.
The placement procedure typically requires two visits. On the first visit, the tooth will be prepared and then an impression of the tooth will be sent to the dental laboratory to create the permanent inlay or onlay. You will be given a temporary inlay or onlay to protect the tooth in the meantime. At the next visit, the temporary inlay/onlay is removed and the permanent one is cemented in its place. The bite is checked and the restoration is polished.