Inlays and onlays are often referred to as partial crowns. They use the existing tooth as a base and fit the inlay or onlay onto the tooth. This is done to strengthen the tooth, restore its shape, and prevent further damage. An inlay is done when there is no damage to the cusps or peaks of the tooth and the inlay can be placed right into the tooth. An onlay is used when the damage is a little more extensive.
The decayed area of the tooth is first removed during the procedure. An impression or mold of the tooth is then made and sent to our dental laboratory. They create a restoration made from porcelain, gold, or a composite resin. The restoration takes about 2-3 weeks to make, so a temporary inlay or onlay will be placed on the tooth for that time. During your next visit the inlay or onlay will be placed in the tooth and permanently cemented into place. Your tooth will look and function like a normal tooth.