What Are Dental Inlays?

Dental inlays are also sometimes referred to as onlays.

When caries or decay happens on the flat surface of the tooth, a metal (amalgam) or composite filling can be used. However if the decay is not too invasive, an inlay or an onlay is sometimes a better option.

These restorations are used when there is a slight crack or splintering on the tooth. A dental inlay will be used when there is not enough damage to be removed and is preferable to having a crown as it is less invasive to the tooth structure.

These restorations are quite often made from composite filling material or gold, but the most popular choice is porcelain. Porcelain is used as an option when a patient is not content with the look of the metal, fillings in their mouths, and they wish for it to look a little nicer.

Dental inlays can be used in the following circumstances:

1. When there is small amounts of decay in the fissures (creases) of the tooth

2. Replacing cracked or broken or leaking Metal Fillings.

Inlays normally take two visits with your cosmetic dentist.

First dental inlays appointment

At the first appointment the decay or old metal filling is removed. An impression of your tooth will be made and sent off to the laboratory for them to make the inlay in porcelain.

A shade is then chosen to ensure the best match to your original tooth structure.

Finally, a temporary filling is placed and the patient should wait around a week for another appointment.

Second dental inlays appointment

At your second inlay dental appointment, the cosmetic dentist will remove the temporary filling, and the inlay that the laboratory made will be cemented in place.

There should be no colour difference, and the tooth should look like no procedure was performed on it.

Dental inlay procedure after-effects

There is normally no after effects of this treatment, and the patient can eat and drink normally after the procedure.

However some patients do complain of slight tenderness for a day or so after the treatment, however this soon passes.

Porcelain inlay advantages

The advantages of having porcelain dental inlays are:

– They are very hard wearing and are much stronger than your own tooth enamel.

– They look much nicer than metal fillings or composite resin fillings.

– These porcelain inlays are made specifically for your tooth and it is customized to fit exactly.

– As it is custom designed for your tooth, it seals perfectly ensuring that no bacteria can enter the cavity so no decay can take place under the porcelain inlay.