While white fillings can be very effective for mending small to medium-size cavities in teeth, they are not strong enough to repair larger areas of decay. If you have a larger cavity in one of your back teeth then your dentist may well recommend an inlay or onlay which will help repair the tooth, restoring full strength and structure. These are also called indirect fillings as they have to be fabricated in a dental laboratory and require at least two visits to our surgery. An inlay or onlay can be made from porcelain, composite resin or from gold alloy.
An inlay will restore the central part of the chewing surface of a back tooth whereas an onlay will restore this central chewing area as well as one or more cusps. The cusps are the raised points on the tooth located on the edges nearest to the tongue and the cheeks.
What Is the Procedure for an Inlay or Onlay?
Your dentist will prepare the tooth through removing all the damaged areas. The next step is to take an impression of the tooth which is sent to the dental laboratory so your inlay or onlay can be made. We then insert a temporary filling to keep your tooth comfortable until your next appointment, by which stage your inlay or onlay will have been custom-made by our dental laboratory. During your next visit we will fit your new restoration and can cement it in place.