More conservative than a crown, inlays and onlays are two methods of restoring normal tooth structure after decay or other damage. Inlays and onlays are known as indirect fillings because unlike a standard filling that is done in a dentist’s office, both are made in a laboratory and cemented or bonded to the surface of the tooth during a second visit to the dentist. And unlike standard fillings, inlays and onlays do not weaken the tooth structure, but actually strengthens it. After the procedure the tooth can bear up to 50 – 75% more chewing force.
An inlay is done when the tooth structure replaced is within the cusp tips of the tooth. If the damage is more extensive and the new structure covers the entire chewing surface including one or more tooth cusps, the procedure is called an onlay.
Inlays and onlays are restorations that go on the surfaces of the back teeth. They can replace or be used as an alternative to metal fillings, and like tooth-colored fillings, they blend in perfectly. Inlays are placed on the inside of teeth, similar to the way fillings are used. Onlays are a more extensive reconstruction because they cover at least one cusp of the tooth. They are both made of a strong material that prevents the tooth from fracturing.
Dr. Stiles has the technology to offer patients tooth-colored fillings and crowns, formed to exact tooth dimensions in a single office visit. The new approach to tooth restoration is made possible by innovative CEREC® CAD/CAM technology that designs and mills a custom ceramic restoration in less than 10 minutes.
“We are pleased to offer our patients the most convenient and esthetically pleasing tooth restoration process available today,” said Dr. Stiles. “Time is increasingly precious, and we recognize that most people don’t see the dentist office as a favorite past time. Using the CEREC equipment we can provide a great looking smile to our patients in a single visit, letting them get back to the more important things in life.”