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Dental Inlays and Onlays

Updated: Apr 3


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Dental Inlays and Onlays

Dental Inlays and onlays are indirect fillings. Indirect fillings refer to fillings that aren’t made in a lab. Rather, they are made in a dental lab and then fitted over the tooth.


Inlays and onlays can be made from a variety of materials, such as composite resin, porcelain, and gold. Both inlays and onlays are custom-made to fit the exact space being restored.


Whats The Difference Between Inlays And Onlays?

Inlays and onlays are made by virtually the same process. The difference between the two has to do with which parts or how much of the tooth they are designed to repair. If the damage is contained to one surface of the tooth, and the repair doesn’t involve any cusps, then it’s an inlay. If it involves one or more cusps, then it’s an onlay.

If your inlay or onlay requires lab work, it will be completed over two appointments. First, Dr. Snyder will prepare the surface of the tooth. Methods of preparation vary based on the needs of the individual repair, but the guiding principle is that the smallest amount of tooth possible should be removed while still creating an effective surface for attaching the inlay or onlay. Next, Dr. Snyder will take a mold of the tooth. Then, she will create a temporary restoration for the tooth, which will protect it until the next visit. After the lab has finished your inlay or onlay, Dr. Snyder will bond it to the tooth and polish it in a second office visit.

With CEREC technology, we are able to complete some inlays and onlays in a single office visit. CEREC enables Dr. Snyder to input scans of your tooth, create a 3D model, and manufacture an inlay or onlay while you wait!


Am I A Candidate For A Dental Inlay Or Onlay?

An inlay or onlay is a custom-made restoration that is placed within the cusp tips of the tooth. Both are made of durable porcelain, and they can be used in place of metal fillings.


An inlay fits inside the cusp tips of the tooth, while onlays extend over one or more of the cusps of the tooth. When teeth are damaged to a greater degree, an inlay or onlay may be recommended.


Advantages Of Dental Inlays And Onlays

  • Inlays and onlays strength and durability Both inlays and onlays are considered very conservative restorations. They are made in a lab after your dentist takes impressions of your teeth. They typically last between 10 and 15 years. Inlays and onlays can be used to replace large sections of decay, repair fractured teeth, or replace old fillings. While dental crowns are often recommended when a tooth is extensively damaged, inlays and onlays may be the better choice. That’s because they can protect more of the tooth’s structure, which keeps them more securely in place.

  • Inlays and onlays repair large areas of decay Gold inlays and onlays repair large areas of decay, usually between the cusps of the back teeth. These restorations are typically made from the same types of materials as fillings, and typically last 15 to 20 years.

  • Inlays and onlays repair cracked teeth Inlays and onlays are restorative dental devices that repair decay and damage. When decay reaches deep into the tooth, an inlay or onlay is the treatment of choice.

  • Inlays and onlays preserve more of the tooth structure Both inlays and onlays provide an alternative to dental crowns. They can protect teeth from decay while strengthening the tooth. Inlays and onlays are more conservative than dental crowns, preserving more of the natural tooth structure. The treatment process begins with the dentist numbing the tooth. After the tooth is numb, the dentist will remove the decayed area of the tooth. The dentist will then create the inlay or onlay to fit the tooth. The inlay or onlay is then bonded to the tooth, restoring the tooth’s strength.


How Is A Dental Inlay Or Onlay Procedure Performed?

Your dentist will first take an impression of your teeth in order to create your customized inlay or onlay. Once the custom restoration is created, your dentist will prep your tooth by removing any decayed or damaged portions. They will then place the inlay or onlay over the tooth and use a special dental adhesive to bond them in place.


To find out more about the dental services offered by our dentist in Albuquerque NM, Dr. Snyder, call (505)-293-7611, schedule an online consultation or visit us at 4830 Juan Tabo Blvd. NE, Ste. K, Albuquerque, NM, 87111.

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