Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and onlays are done as a restorative treatment on teeth that are too broken down or damaged to support a basic filling but do not need a crown. An Inlay can be placed in the biting surface of a tooth where as an onlay will cover a larger area and is better for bigger cavities. The treatment is done over two appointments as the inlays and onlays are made by dental technicians externally. During the first appointment impressions will be taken that are needed to make the restoration and any preparation needed to the cavity is done, a temporary filling will be placed until the second appointment. In the second appointment the temporary filling will be removed and the inlay or onlay can be tried in and cemented if the dentist and patient is happy with the fit and appearance. Both can be made from a number of materials such as metals, resin and ceramics, the dentist will advise what is clinically necessary and which can be provided under the NHS band 3 dental treatment cost.

Advantages of Inlays/Onlays

  • They offer strength and durability

  • The dentist is able to preserve more of the natural tooth than when preparing for a crown

  • If porcelain/resin is used it can be color matched to the natural tooth color

  • With good oral health routine the tooth can be less prone to decay as they are custom made to fit margins of the cavities

  • They do not expand and contract the same way that fillings can therefore cause less or no sensitivity

Disadvantages of Inlays/Onlays

  • More time in the dental chair over two visits with longer appointments

  • They cost more than a filling being a band 3 on the NHS however a filling may not be possible to restore the tooth.

  • Although the cement used to place inlays and onlays is permanent they can occasionally come out, in this case they can be re-cemented providing there is no damage to the tooth or restoration.

  • It is possible for decay to form at the margins of an inlay or onlay if if oral hygiene is not kept to a good standard