Porcelain inlays and onlays are custom-made fillings, created from specially crafted dental porcelain, that bond permanently to the tooth and appear indistinguishable from your surrounding enamel. They’re the perfect alternative to unsightly metal fillings – no one will ever know that you’ve had restoration work done.
If you have damaged teeth, but substantial enamel remaining, chances are you’re a good candidate for porcelain inlays and onlays. Your teeth will be protected from further damage, and the appearance will blend in with the rest of your smile – the dentist will use a shade of porcelain that matches the color of your natural teeth and both reflects and absorbs the light in the same fashion. The result is invisible dental restoration.
When the material is bonded to the center of the tooth, it’s called an inlay. When the damage requires covering the biting surface of the tooth, or including one or more of the tooth’s cusps (or points), then it is an overlay.
Metal fillings can become damaged over time, and can also cause damage to the tooth, because they are not bonded. When the fillings come into contact with hot or cold foods or beverages, they expand and contract accordingly, and the constantly changing pressure on the tooth can cause it to weaken and break.
With porcelain fillings, the tooth structure is not disturbed. This is because porcelain fillings are bonded to the tooth, and therefore will not weaken it over time. Inlays and onlays preserve as much of the tooth structure as possible while restoring the damaged areas. With proper care, they’ll last a long time, and will not discolor.
Inlays and onlays can be placed in just two office visits. During the initial visit, your dentist will remove the old filling and any decayed areas. Then, an impression of the tooth will be taken, and sent to a dental laboratory, along with photographs and any other relevant data. The inlay or onlay is then custom-made to ensure a perfect fit. For the sake of appearance and/or comfort, if you desire, a temporary restoration can be placed on the affected tooth.
On your second visit, your dentist will fit the inlay or onlay, checking to ensure a smooth, tight fit. He or she will also check your bite to make sure that nothing has occurred between the first visit and the second that could affect the margins. Then, once the inlay or onlay has been fitted, it will be bonded to your tooth and the margins polished. At this point, you will have a permanent, natural-looking restoration.
As a replacement for dull-looking, worn metal fillings, porcelain inlays and onlays can deliver a natural, long-lasting smile. The procedure is not complicated – you’ll have your new smile in just a couple of visits.
At Tribeca Smiles, whether you need inlays, onlays or a combination, it will be our pleasure to meet with you and answer any questions you may have.