Inlays and onlays are used to restore portions of the tooth, or to strengthen a tooth. They are alternatives to using fillings or a crown to restore the integrity of the tooth.
When there is only partial damage to your tooth, an inlay can be bonded inside the remaining tooth structure. Traditionally, gold is the material of choice for this type of restoration, and although this is available, most of our dental patients prefer the more natural look that ceramic provides.
Onlays are used to restore a portion of the biting cusp of a tooth or to restore the strength of a tooth. Instead of removing healthy tooth structure for a crown placement, an onlay can be used as a more conservative restoration.
Sometimes onlays are referred to as "inside crowns." That is a good description, as it describes the strengthening process that an onlay creates for the tooth. At the Westwood Family Dentistry, we can place onlays when possible to lessen the amount of healthy tooth removed, compared to traditional crowns. Research has shown that the less you reduce a tooth, the better it will survive long-term, and our goal is to provide you with healthy teeth for life.