When a tooth becomes damaged or develops a cavity, a filling is normally used to treat it. More extensive damage usually calls for a crown. However, sometimes, the damage falls in between these two cases, where a filling is not sufficient, but placing a crown would require more tooth to be removed than necessary. For these cases, dental inlays and onlays are the most appropriate option.
Inlays and onlays are the same type of restoration – they both cover part of the tooth. Inlays are placed between the cusp tips of the tooth (at the center of the tooth) while onlays cover the cusp or even the whole biting surface of the tooth. They provide several benefits. Inlays and onlays:
The tooth receiving an inlay or onlay must first be prepared by having all decay removed. An impression is then taken of it. This impression is sent to a dental lab, where the restoration will be made. A temporary covering will be placed to protect the tooth while waiting for the inlay or onlay to come back. Once it has been completed, the temporary covering will be removed and the new restoration placed.
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