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    More conservative than a crown, inlays and onlays are two methods of restoring normal tooth     structure after decay or other damage. Inlays and onlays are known as indirect fillings     because unlike a standard filling that is done in a dentist's office, both are made in a     laboratory and cemented or bonded to the surface of the tooth during a second visit to the     dentist. And unlike standard fillings, inlays and onlays do not weaken the tooth structure,
    but actually strengthens it. After the procedure the tooth can bear up to 50 - 75% more     chewing force.
 An inlay is done when the tooth structure replaced is within the cusp tips of the     tooth. If the damage is more extensive and the new structure covers the entire chewing     surface including one or more tooth cusps, the procedure is called an onlay.

    Inlays and onlays are ways of repairing relatively extensive tooth decay or damage without     having to replace the whole outer portion of the tooth as with a crown. Less tooth material is     removed so they tend to be more conservative, strong and last longer.

  At the initial consultation the dentist will determine whether the tooth can be repaired using an   inlay or onlay procedure or whether a more extensive treatment, such as a crown, is needed.   Once it is determined that an inlay  or onlay will suffice, a decision needs to be made as to the   material. Gold has the longest track record, but it does tend to be less esthetically appealing.   Porcelain and tooth colored composite resin are two other choices of material for the new tooth   structure.

  Inlays and onlays are performed using very similar procedures. Both require two trips to the   dentist. At the appointment, the dentist begins the procedure by numbing the area using a   local anesthetic. The decay or damage is  removed using a drill, preparing the tooth for its new   surface. After all the damage is removed, an impression is made of the prepared tooth so the   inlay or on lay material can be cast in a form that will fit the tooth exactly.

   A temporary   restoration is placed on the tooth to protect it until the laboratory makes the   new structure and   it can be bonded to the tooth. This can take about two to three weeks.
  Using the impression, a laboratory prepares the new tooth surface using gold, porcelain or composite resin. Upon return to the dentist's   office, the temporary restoration is removed and the surface is cleaned to prepare for the new structure. The dentist will then try in the new   restoration to ensure that there is a correct fit that doesn't interfere with your bite. If the fit is good, using special cement or bonding, the   inlay or on lay is permanently attached to the tooth. Some minor adjustment may need to be made to the restoration if there are
  interferences. To finish the procedure, the dentist will polish the cemented or bonded structure and tooth.

  Generally, each visit will take about one hour, although the first appointment tends to be longer with an on lay as  more tooth structure is   removed.
Inlay & Onlays before and after
Gold Inlay
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