Our dental inlays and onlays in Alpharetta, Georgia, can be made of porcelain or composite resin, and they can increase the strength of a tooth structure by 75 percent. As a result, they can last 15 to 30 years. The restorations are bonded to the remaining healthy enamel on the tooth. An inlay, which is similar to a filling, is generally small and designed to fit between the cusp tips of the tooth. An onlay is larger in size and design than an inlay. The onlay shape is crafted so it replaces the cusp of the tooth and returns strength while chewing.
Traditionally, gold has been the material of choice for inlays and onlays. In recent years, however, porcelain has become increasingly popular due to strength and color, which can match the natural color of your teeth.
How are inlays and onlays applied?
During the first visit, the damaged or decayed area of the tooth is removed. The tooth is then prepared for the inlay or onlay. To ensure a custom fit and bite, an impression of the prepared tooth is made by our dentists and sent to a specialty lab for fabrication. The tooth will receive a temporary sealant to protect it against sensitivity until the follow-up appointment.
At the completion appointment, the temporary sealant is removed. Dr. Harvey and Dr. Choy will then ensure a satisfactory fit, and the inlay or onlay will be permanently bonded to the tooth with a strong resin and polished to a smooth finish to look like your natural tooth.
Why an inlay or onlay? Traditional resin fillings can increase a tooth’s strength by 50 percent. Inlays and onlays that are bonded directly to the tooth structure can increase the strength of the tooth by 75 percent. In cases where the damage to the tooth is not extensive enough for a crown, onlays can provide a more cost-effective permanent restoration.