Inlays and Onlays: A Conservative Tooth Restoration Solution

Inlays​ ​and​ ​onlays​ ​are​ ​porcelain​ ​restorations​ ​that​ ​can​ ​repair​ ​teeth damaged​ ​by​ ​fractures,​ ​cracks,​ ​or​ ​large​ ​cavities​ ​that​ ​dental​ ​fillings cannot​ ​fix, and are a conservative alternative to dental crowns. Parkway​ ​Dental​ in ​Albuquerque, NM, uses​ ​CEREC®​ ​technology​ ​to​ ​create inlays​ ​and​ ​onlays​ ​that​ ​can be placed during ​a​ ​single​ ​appointment. By repairing your damaged or decayed tooth with an inlay or onlay, its structural integrity and function are immediately restored. 

What Are Inlays and Onlays?

Made from durable and natural-looking porcelain, inlays and onlays are customized restorations that are intended to repair the biting surface of a tooth that has been damaged from either decay or injury. While both fit over the top of an impaired molar, whether you receive and inlay or onlay depends on the location and severity of damage.

An inlay is selected to repair the area in the center of a tooth between the cusps (pointed edges). In some cases, inlays can also be used to replace old silver amalgam fillings. When the damage encompasses a larger area and extends down the side of the tooth, an onlay can be used.

Illustration of inlays and onlays on teeth.
An inlay repairs the center of a tooth, while an onlay covers a larger area and extends down the side of the tooth

How Are Inlays and Onlays Placed?

During your consultation, Dr. Haight will examine the extent of damage by performing a series of x-rays to determine whether an inlay or onlay would best accommodate your needs. While the fabrication process typically takes two office visits, at Parkway Dental we are able to deliver same-day inlays and onlays using CEREC® technology.

Your inlay or onlay will help improve your oral health, provide lasting and lifelike results, and prevent further damage.

Before the inlay or onlay is fabricated, we will anesthetize the area and gently prepare the tooth by removing any unhealthy tissue, similar to a dental filling procedure. Using the CEREC® system, digital impressions will be taken to create a 3D model of the tooth. The images will be immediately uploaded to the CEREC® machine where we will design your restoration.

Once we are satisfied with the results, the milling machine can begin manufacturing your customized inlay or onlay. The process will generally be completed in less than one hour. Once the restoration is ready, we will make sure that it fits and permanently bond it to your tooth, carefully checking your bite to ensure it functions as it should.

Benefits of Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and inlays are often a better choice compared to other restorative procedures, such as dental fillings or crowns. While tooth-colored dental fillings offer the same great aesthetics, if the decay is widespread, a filling may not be able to completely reinforce the structural integrity of the tooth.

Porcelain inlays and onlays are both aesthetically pleasing and more durable than dental fillings when the cusps of a tooth have been compromised. Since molars are primarily used for chewing and breaking down food, you need maximum support.

Inlays and onlays are smaller in size than dental crowns, allowing you to maintain more of your original tooth structure. This makes the treatment quick and comfortable, and in most cases, more affordable. Your inlay or onlay will help improve your oral health, provide lasting and lifelike results, and prevent further damage.

Find Out More about Inlays and Onlays

At Parkway Dental, we want to help you maintain a happy, healthy smile that will last many years. To schedule a consultation at our Albuquerque, NM, dental office, contact us online or call (505) 298-7479. Dr. Michael Haight looks forward to meeting with you to discuss the different restorative options available.

Parkway Dental Hygiene Team

Parkway Dental

Dr. Michael Haight and the team at Parkway Dental in Albuquerque, NM, are proud to provide an exceptional dental experience through:

  • Comfortable, personalized treatment
  • Patient education 
  • High-quality materials and the latest technology
  • World-class care

To schedule your consultation, contact us online or call us at (505) 298-7479.

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