Unlike traditional fillings, which can be directly placed on you at the dentist’s office, inlays and onlays are made in a dental laboratory and then applied to the tooth by Dr. Toral Pandya at our North Highlands, California office. An inlay fits on the cusps of premolars or molars while an onlay covers one or more of these cusps. The procedure is similar for both inlays and onlays.
Like when having a crown placed, a small portion of your tooth will be drilled away to have an inlay or onlay placed. The upside is that less of your tooth will need to be removed to place an inlay or onlay. Inlays and onlays can be preferable to crowns since it allows your dentist to save as much of your natural tooth as possible.
Getting inlays or onlays begins with numbing the tooth using a local anesthetic before removing the decayed section of your tooth. Decay is a type of dental infection, so it is important to remove all of it and clean the area to keep the infection from spreading. Once your dentist has fully cleaned and removed any signs of infection from your tooth, an impression will be made of your tooth. This impression will be used to create your inlay or onlay with the material you and your dentist agree upon. The indirect fillings can be made of metal or composite resin, which are tooth-colored.
Your dentist will apply an interim filling to safeguard it while you wait for your permanent, personalized inlay or onlay to come back from the dental laboratory. At your next visit, the permanent inlay or onlay will adhere to your tooth. If the composite resin is being used, it will be cemented onto your tooth using a special dental light source.
Your inlay or onlays will require the same regular care as your natural teeth. Dr. Toral Pandya recommends that you brush and floss daily and visit our office every six months. Seeing our dental team biannually will ensure that your teeth remain healthy and that your inlays and onlays are long-lasting.