Often referred to as partial crowns, inlays and onlays are fitted over an existing tooth to prevent further damage. Inlays and onlays are used to strengthen a damaged tooth, restore its shape and prevent further decay.
An inlay is used 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 damage to a tooth is more extensive.
The first part of the procedure involves removing the decayed area of the tooth. A mold is prepared and sent to a dental lab. The lab creates a restoration made from porcelain, gold or a composite resin. The restoration takes about two to three weeks to create so a temporary inlay or onlay will be made for the patient until the permanent inlay or onlay is ready. During the final visit, the inlay or onlay will be placed and set with an adhesive cement. Your tooth will look natural and no one will be able to tell the difference.