What Are Porcelain Inlays and Onlays?

A porcelain inlay is a custom-made dental restoration/filling used to replace a damaged or decayed portion of a tooth. The inlay is designed and crafted to fit perfectly into the space left by the damaged area, providing a smooth and natural-looking solution. 
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In contrast, an onlay is similar to an inlay but covers a more significant portion of the tooth, including the cusps (the raised areas on the biting surface of a tooth).

Indications for Porcelain Inlays/Onlays

  • Moderate to large cavities
  • Wear or damage of existing fillings
  • Cracks or chips in teeth
  • Endodontically treated teeth
  • To improve the appearance of teeth
  • Benefits of Porcelain Inlays/Onlays

Porcelain Inlays and onlays offer several benefits for individuals looking to restore the appearance and function of damaged or decayed teeth. These therapeutic options are made from solid and durable materials and can last many years with proper care. Porcelain inlays and onlays also provide an aesthetically pleasing solution, as they can be color-matched to your existing teeth for a natural-looking smile. Unlike traditional metal fillings, inlays and onlays are minimally invasive, preserving more of your natural tooth structure and not containing any metal in your mouth. 

How is a porcelain inlay done?

Getting porcelain inlays or onlays typically involves two or three appointments with your dentist.

  1. Preparation: During the first appointment, your dentist will remove any decay or damage and prepare the tooth for the inlay or onlay. This typically involves numbing the area and then removing the damaged portion of the tooth with a handpiece/drill.
  1. Impressions: Next, your dentist will take impressions of the prepared tooth and surrounding teeth. These impressions are used to create a custom-fit inlay or onlay designed to match the shape, size, and color of your teeth.
  1. Fabrication: The impressions are sent to a dental laboratory, where a skilled technician will craft the inlay or onlay from a solid piece of porcelain. The inlay or onlay is then polished to achieve a smooth, natural-looking surface.
  1. Bonding: At the second appointment, your dentist will use a strong adhesive to bond the inlay or onlay to the prepared tooth. The bond is then cured with a special light to ensure a strong and secure bond.
  1. Polishing: Finally, your dentist will polish the inlay or onlay to ensure a smooth, seamless finish that blends in with the surrounding teeth.

How to Care for Porcelain Inlay/Onlay?

There are some tips to help you maintain your new porcelain inlays and onlays restorations:

Brush and floss regularly: Brushing twice a day and flossing once a day are essential to maintain good oral health and prevent plaque buildup around your inlays and onlays.

Avoid hard, sticky foods: They can put undue stress on your inlays and onlays and cause them to break or come loose. Avoid ice, hard candy, and chewy or sticky candy to keep your inlays and onlays in good condition.

Visit your dentist regularly: Regular dental check-ups are essential to maintain good oral health and ensure that your inlays and onlays are in good condition. Your dentist will also be able to identify and address any potential problems early on.

Our expert cosmetic dentist in Philadelphia will help you achieve your dental health and attractiveness goals by providing tailored, high-quality care. To learn more about Porcelain Inlays and Onlays, please contact our office.

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