When more than half of the tooth’s biting surface is damaged, an inlay or onlay is a common and effective solution.
Inlays and onlays are often referred to as partial crowns. They use the existing tooth as a base and fit the inlay or onlay onto the tooth. This is done to strengthen the tooth, restore its shape, and prevent further damage. An inlay is appropriate when there is no damage to the cusps of the tooth, and the inlay can be placed right on the tooth. An onlay is used when the damage is a little more extensive.
The decayed area of the tooth is first removed during the procedure. A mold of the tooth is then taken and sent to a dental lab. The lab creates a restoration made from porcelain, gold, or a composite resin. The restoration takes several days for the lab to process. Therefore, a temporary inlay or onlay will be placed on the tooth during this waiting period. During your next visit, the inlay or onlay will be placed into your mouth and set with dental cement. Your tooth will look so natural, you and your friends and family won’t be able to tell the difference.