Minor damage to the surface of a tooth can be repaired and strengthened with a simple filling or bonding procedure. An older technique relied on gold inlays and onlays that make the restoration evident. The material that dentists use today match the natural tooth shade so that the repair will be undetectable, even when applied to front teeth. Porcelain or composite inlays and onlays are ideal for more significant restorations because it discreetly reinforces the tooth.

The Difference Between an Inlay and Onlay
Dentists determine whether an inlay or onlay is the most appropriate solution based on the area and extent of damage. Inlays are the most comparable to a traditional filling because the material is applied inside the tooth cusp. Onlays are used to repair one or more cusps when the damage includes at least half of the biting surface.

The Inlay and Onlay Procedure
Repair through inlays and onlays is not a quick procedure that can be completed in a single appointment because preparations must be made. The first visit is an opportunity for the dentist to clean up the damage, and this may entail removal of decay or other preparations. An impression of the tooth receiving an inlay or onlay is taken in the first appointment to ensure the best fit possible. A temporary sealant is applied as an effort to temporarily protect the tooth from further damage until the follow-up appointment. The sealant is removed during the second appointment, and the dentist will check the fit of the inlay or onlay. Adjustments may be necessary before the inlay or onlay is bonded to the surface of the natural tooth. Once it is in place, the restoration is going to be set permanently. It will be polished in the final step to reinforce the strength and smooth the restoration.

Benefits of Inlays and Onlays
Protecting adult teeth is an on-going effort that every person must make to keep their smile healthy and beautiful. Decay and other damage can weaken the surface of a tooth to a point that it needs to be extracted. Major surface restoration is a solution that can effectively prevent total loss of adult teeth. Inlays and onlays offer many benefits to the recipient, especially when a patient decides to move forward with the tooth-colored resin. A successful inlay or onlay procedure is going to reinforce strength of the tooth, eliminate sensitivity from decay or damage, and enhance the beauty of the smile.