Ceramic Inlays and onlays are used in molars or premolars, when the tooth has experienced too much damage to support a basic filling, but not so much damage that a crown is necessary. The key comparison between them is the amount and part of the tooth that they cover. An inlay will incorporate the pits and fissures of a tooth, mainly encompassing the chewing surface between the cusps. Whereas an onlay will involve one or more cusps being covered.



Dental Inlays

Today, inlays are still used in the same situations, but the inlays can be made of a tooth-colored material such as ceramic/porcelain or special dental composite. Defective or unsightly “fillings” can be replaced by tooth-colored inlays and bonded to the tooth. This bonding process may actually improve the strength of the tooth and help seal the inlay to the tooth.

Dental Onlays

Onlays also fit inside the tooth, but extend onto the chewing surface of a back tooth to replace one or more cusps. In the past, onlays were made only of gold, but like inlays, more and more patients request a tooth-colored onlay. Making the onlay of ceramic/porcelain allows the restoration to be bonded to the tooth. This bonding process may actually improve the strength of the tooth and help seal the onlay to the tooth.

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