Damaged teeth can be repaired using inlays or onlays, and dependent on your situation, either one may be used. If you have tooth damage as a result of cavities, cracking or general wear, then an inlay or onlay can restore tooth shape.
An inlay is an internal repair structure of the tooth – fillings are the prime example. However, an inlay is a custom shaped gold or composite filling, which is much stronger than standard amalgam fillings. Because the inlay is custom-moulded to the both the gap in the tooth and its natural contours, the fit is much tighter and fewer complications occur as a result. They are better protection against further tooth decay, and can last much longer. Inlays are available in composite materials that are tooth-coloured, resulting in a natural look.
An onlay is produced in the same way as an inlay, but it is used when the cusp of a tooth is damaged and needs repair. They differ from crowns as they retain the natural shape of the tooth and, similarly to an inlay, they are custom-moulded to the tooth. They cap the top of the tooth for a tight fit, and can be made from metal alloys or composites. Natural looking composite onlays produce the most natural looking repair available.
Both inlays and onlays cost more than standard fillings and crowns, but the advantages are certainly there. Feel free to phone us here at HDC to arrange a consult with our treatment coordinator about having a new cavity repaired in this way, or having a worn filling or crown replaced.