Inlays and onlays are often referred to as partial crowns. They use the existing tooth as a base to fit the inlay or onlay onto the tooth. This type of restoration 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 of the tooth and the inlay can be placed right in the tooth. An onlay is used when the damage is is more extensive. There are specific criteria outlined by scientific studies for the use of onlays: when1/3 the distance between the cusps of the back teeth is decayed or filled, that tooth will ultimately crack. The crack can propogate into the nerve, leading to root canal or the tooth may fracture. If the fracture is unfavorable, the tooth may have to be extracted. Many times the teeth can be restored with an onlay or crown.

The large old fillilng or decayed area of the tooth is first removed during the procedure. The tooth is shaped with nearly parallel walls to aid in retention of the onlay. A mold of the tooth is then taken and sent to our dental lab. Rich Dube creates a restoration made from porcelain or porelain fused to gold. In some cases a heat tempered composite resin inlay can be made by Dr. Herbert right in the office while you wait. thpically the restoration takes about 3-4 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 into your mouth and set with cement. Your tooth will look natural and you or anyone else won't be able to tell the difference. If we use a heat tempered composite inlay or onlay, you will leave with the final restoration the same day.