Inlays or onlays are fillings that can replace the conventional restorations that are done in the clinic. They are recommended in a case where the cavity or the filling already present covers too large an area with regard to the remaining natural surface. A conventional filling does not solidify the tooth. It only fills the cavity in which it is placed. As time goes by, it might expand, increasing the risk dental fracture, or even contract, increasing the possibility of decay and reducing considerably the strength of the remaining natural structures. The condensation present in a mouth when inserting the filling material is one of the factors of contamination responsible for modification in the size. The bigger the restoration, the more the filling will be affected. If, by mishap, the tooth is fractured below the gum, the tooth must either be extracted or, if the fracture is not too deep, a step will be added to the treatment. We shall then proceed to the lengthening of the clinical crown. This is why it’s important that your dentist see to it that all your fillings be faultless. Before it is too late, it would be crucial to think of a long-term solution. For all teeth presenting a faulty restoration, your dentist can advise you of the most appropriate solution. Contrary to the restorations done in the clinic, the inlay or onlay is manufactured in a laboratory as a model from impressions of the trimmed tooth. No contamination or condensation is possible. Therefore, instead of weakening the natural wall remaining, the inlay or onlay will contribute to its reinforcement. Two to three appointments will be necessary for the complete procedure. First, the dentist will grind down the tooth, making sure no trace of decay or former filling is left. Then he or she will take a very precise impression of the trimmed tooth and will send it to the lab, where they will proceed to the making of the inlay or onlay. It is possible to have a choice of the material used for the fabrication of the inlay or onlay. It may be porcelain, resin or gold. You may discuss your choice with your dentist before the impression is sent to the laboratory. While the inlay or onlay is being prepared in the lab, a temporary filling will be put in. On the last visit, the temporary filling will be replaced by the inlay or, if the restoration includes a cuspid by an onlay, it will be cemented in place and an adjustment will be made if necessary. This simple technique allows 90% of the original strength of your tooth to be recovered. In addition, it is aesthetic.
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The information in this capsule contains general information and is for educational purposes.