How an Inlay Differs from an Onlay or Filling
An onlay is a method used to repair a tooth that has more extensive damage affecting the cusp or tips of the tooth, or potentially the biting surface. The dentist will numb the patient with a local anesthetic and will drill the tooth to clean out the cavity, remove any decayed tooth material and insert a temporary dental onlay, while sending off the patient's impression to the laboratory. A week or so later the permanent onlay arrives, and at the next visit the dentist removes the temporary onlay and fits the final dental onlay in its place.
When to Choose an Inlay
Your dentist is likely to recommend an inlay instead of a regular filling if the damage to the biting surface matches these criteria:
• Broken, fractured or decayed teeth where it does not affect the cusp of the tooth.
• It is extensive enough to require a large dental filling that may weaken the remaining structure.
• The level of injury does not allow for removal of enough tooth material to support mounting a crown.
Inlays, onlays and fillings all restore your smile while preventing further decay. Your dentist will be able to advise which is the best option for you.