Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and Onlays

Tim Meskhi

Tooth decay requires prompt, effective and long lasting treatment if pain, further damage and potential loss of the tooth is to be avoided. This is why regular dental check-ups are essential. Even between appointments, do not delay your visit to our surgery if symptoms or obvious visual damage become apparent.

Used to restore decayed teeth, dental inlays and onlays may be described as a compromise between a filling and a crown in terms of the surface area of tooth that is treated. Once again, the relative merits of ceramic, composite resins, zirconia or gold can be discussed with Dr. Meskhi.

Generally used to treat larger areas than a simple filling, they can also be placed on teeth that have suffered some degree of damage, such as fracturing. Other advantages over fillings includes the fact that more of your tooth tends to be retained and research suggests that the tooth can be strengthened by up to 75% by this work.

The lifespan of the finished article is broadly similar to other treatments (sometimes they can last for decades) and is dependent on the aftercare and quality of the initial treatment, of which you can be confident.

The essential difference between an inlay and an onlay is subtle, but in layman’s terms the inlay sits within the bumps (properly known as cusps) of the chewing surface of the tooth, whilst the onlay is formed to cover one or more of the cusps.

As suggested, in addition to treating decay, both of these treatments can also be used to deal with teeth that may have suffered a limited degree of fracturing. More serious levels of damage or decay will normally result in the need for a crown.

The procedure itself is simple, quick and not unlike the experience you may have had with a dental filling. The process takes place in two stages. On the first visit, any decay is removed, the tooth is shaped and the inlay/onlay moulding material applied to ensure a perfect impression of the underlying, prepared tooth. The final production process will be completed in a dental laboratory and it is on your second visit to Dr. Meskhi that the inlay/onlay is permanently bonded and ‘finished’ by polishing.

Dr. Meskhi will achieve cosmetically pleasing and long-lasting results with this method and, as always, your comfort and satisfaction are paramount.