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Inlays & Onlays


Rendering of teeth with inlay and one with onlayPatients with tooth decay have several restorative options, depending on the extent of the damage. Most minor to moderate instances of decay usually require a dental filling. We may recommend a dental crown if there is a minimal amount of healthy tooth structure left. However, there is also a third option. Aspen Family Dentistry is one of the select numbers of dental offices that specialize in inlays and onlays. Inlays and onlays are considered a conservative alternative to full coverage dental crowns.

What Are Inlays & Onlays?


Inlays and onlays, also known as indirect fillings, are used to replace a small, moderate, or even significant amount of tooth structure lost to decay. These restorations serve as well-fit, durable, and aesthetically-pleasing solutions. An inlay or onlay is ideal if there is too much damage for a filling, but not enough to require the use of a dental crown.

An indirect filling is considered an inlay when the restoration fits within the occlusal, or bite surface, of the tooth (the center). An indirect filling is considered an onlay when it extends beyond one or more cusps of the tooth.

These days, most inlays and onlays are fabricated using a ceramic material like porcelain. Porcelain can be colored and textured to match the appearance of your natural enamel. In other words, a ceramic inlay or onlay will be virtually indistinguishable from the rest of your tooth. In the past, these restorations were also fabricated using gold, although this material has fallen out of favor for cosmetic reasons.

Inlay & Onlay Procedure


The procedure for both inlays and onlays is pretty much the same. The only major difference is the size and shape of the restoration itself. During your procedure, Dr. Teala Redlinger, DDS will use a hand tool, such as a drill, to remove any damaged or decayed tooth material. Once the tooth is properly prepared, we will take an impression of the area. This impression will be used to fabricate your final restoration. This process may take several weeks. In the meantime, we will give you a provisional inlay or onlay to protect the tooth.

Once your final restoration is ready, we will remove the provisional and place your inlay or onlay. We use a special cement to ensure your restoration permanently bonds to the enamel. We will then smooth and polish the restoration to improve its comfort and aesthetics.

Benefits of Inlays & Onlays


There are several benefits to the conservative approach of inlays and onlays, including:
•  Easy maintenance. Your restoration will be easier to clean than full coverage crowns due to its tailored fit.
•  Superior Fit. Our goal is always to preserve as much healthy tooth structure as possible. Inlays and onlays and designed to safeguard your existing tooth structure, while restoring the decayed or damaged areas.
•  Stability. Inlays and onlays, due to their fit, are extremely stable and durable. They can even strengthen the structure of a weak tooth, improving its overall longevity.
•  Tight Space Fulfillment. Due to the nature of their fit, onlays are ideal for areas of decay in the tight spaces between your teeth.
•  Aesthetics. Porcelain restorations offer the very best in aesthetics. Porcelain is also stain resistant, ensuring your restoration will look bright and beautiful for years to come!

Schedule Your Consultation


You, too, could experience the many benefits of inlays and onlays! Call (775) 384-3500 to schedule your consultation today!
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