Conservative Inlays and Onlays Can Repair Damaged Molars

Inlays and onlays at our Redlands, CA, practice can restore cracked and decayed teeth. In some cases, we can also replace old fillings with a new inlay or onlay. These restorations cover the chewing surfaces of your molars to provide vital strength and protection, but are more conservative than dental crowns. At Redlands Family Dentistry, our team pays close attention to detail. Whether your restoration is made at a lab or here in our office with CEREC® technology, our team will make sure that it matches the shade of your smile and the force of your bite.

By repairing your damaged tooth, an inlay or onlay can also restore your complete dental function.

Can an Inlay or Onlay Repair Your Tooth?

Inlays and onlays are restorative options designed to repair the flat chewing surfaces of your molars. Inlays are smaller, typically used to restore teeth after pit and fissure cavities, and will fit in between the cusps of your teeth. Onlays are appropriate if you have sustained more significant damage because they can replace one or more cusps, as well as extend down the sides of a tooth.

Inlays and onlays can repair minor to moderate structural damage. Your dentist may suggest one of these restorations if you are struggling with a cracked tooth. An inlay or onlay can also be appropriate if you have a large cavity, and a filling will not be enough to strengthen your tooth. In some cases, we may combine inlays and onlays with other restorative treatments during full mouth reconstruction.

What Happens When You Receive an Inlay or Onlay?

After determining that an inlay or onlay is right for you, one of our doctors will remove a small amount of tissue from your damaged tooth. This step will create a stable base for your restoration. Preparing your tooth will also enable your dentist to remove damaged tissue and eliminate dental decay. You will receive local anesthesia before treatment, so you should experience minimal discomfort, if any.

Illustration of an inlay and onlay

After the initial preparatory step, a member of our team will take impressions of your tooth. We often take 3-D digital scans to provide a same-day CEREC® inlay or onlay. Lab-created restorations will typically take about two weeks to complete, and we will provide you with a temporary inlay or onlay while you wait. Your restoration will be made from durable materials that will correspond with the natural color of your smile. Once your inlay or onlay is finished, we will ensure that the restoration maintains your proper bite, and will then secure it in place.

What Are the Benefits of Inlays and Onlays?

By repairing your damaged tooth, an inlay or onlay can also restore your complete dental function. Once your restoration is in place, your tooth will be much stronger. In many cases, you will be able to eat a more complete diet, and you will not have to worry about further damage to your tooth. Another benefit is that inlays and onlays are a conservative treatment. Thanks to their smaller size, your dentist will need to remove a very minimal amount of tissue, unlike when placing a dental crown. As a result, your tooth will often be much stronger than it would be with a crown. 

Restore Your Smile

Inlays and onlays can provide much needed support and protection for weakened teeth. To find out if you are a candidate for an inlay or onlay, contact our office today.