Tooth inlays and onlays
Tooth coloured fillings are suitable for small to medium sized cavities/holes in back teeth. In instances where there is very little tooth surface left, your dentist may advise you to have a tooth coloured inlay.
An inlay is like a jigsaw piece that fits and restores the missing portion of your tooth. An onlay sits on top of the tooth to restore the shape and function of your tooth. Dental inlays and onlays are both made in the laboratory by a highly skilled dental technician.
They can be metal or tooth coloured depending on what your dentist feels is the best way to restore your tooth. Metal inlays/onlays are usually made of a gold alloy, these are not aesthetically as pleasing as tooth coloured inlays/onlays but in some situations are necessary in cases where bruxism (tooth grinding) has lead to the loss of a considerable amount of tooth subsatnce. Tooth coloured inlays/onlays are usually made of porcelain/composite and these give the best aesthetic appearance.
What happens during my procedure?
Your dentist will anaesthetise (numb) the tooth and will remove the dental caries (dental decay) and then prepare the cavity to receive the inlay/onlay. An impression will be taken and this will be sent to the laboratory where your dental inlay/onlay will be carefully constructed.
Your dentist will temporise your tooth until your dental inlay/onlay is ready for cementation. This usually takes between a week to ten days from preparation to fit.
At the fitting appointment you may need to be anaesthised (numbed) again, your dentist will then remove the temporary restoration and bond in your new dental inlay/onlay with cement. Your final restoration will be checked for correct occlusion (bite) and fit.