Inlays and onlays are sometimes referred to as partial crowns. These partial crowns are utilized when there is still a healthy enamel portion of the tooth. An inlay or onlay is a like a puzzle piece that will be fitted into the remaining portion of the tooth to help increase its strength. This piece is usually crafted out of porcelain, but can also be made of a gold or a composite material. We will make the determination as to which restoration will work best in your specific situation.
An inlay is used when there is not damage to any of the cusps of your tooth and is essentially placed within these cusps. An onlay is used when there is slightly more extensive damage to the tooth structure. This type of restoration is placed over at least one of the cusps on the tooth.
When we have decided to go ahead with an inlay or onlay, we will set aside one appointment for the entire process. Although the majority of inlays and onlays are completed in one visit, there is sometimes a need for a second visit to ensure a proper fit.
The procedure begins with the removal of all decay in the tooth. Once we have removed the decay, we will take an optical image of the tooth. This image will be used to to create a restoration on our CEREC machine. This process will take about 15-20 minutes to complete. Next, we will make any necessary adjustments, bond the restoration to your tooth, and do a final polish. The entire process takes about one hour and fifteen minutes.