Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and Onlays on Staten Island, NY

dentist working on patient

Inlays and onlays are used to repair damage to the tooth structure that cannot be repaired by a traditional dental filling, but is not extensive enough to merit placing a crown. Unlike dental fillings, inlays and onlays are fabricated in a dental laboratory, then bonded to your tooth. An inlay fits within the center of a molar, while an onlay covers most of the chewing surface.

Getting Inlays and Onlays

Like a crown, inlays and onlays require two appointments at our office. During the first appointment, we will remove the decayed or damaged portions of the tooth structure using the same type of drill used for treating cavities. Your tooth will be numbed using a local anesthetic to keep you comfortable throughout this process. 

Once we’re sure that all damaged portions of the tooth have been removed, we take impressions. These impressions are then sent to a dental laboratory where a technician will make your custom-made inlay or onlay. The impressions are used not only to ensure that the restoration fits securely onto your prepared tooth, but also to make sure the restoration interacts the way it should with your other teeth when you bite down. You will be given a temporary restoration to protect your tooth until the permanent inlay or onlay is ready.

When we receive your finished inlay or onlay from the dental laboratory, you will come in for your second appointment to have it affixed to your prepared tooth. After checking your bite with the inlay or onlay in place to make sure your teeth fit together properly, we use a special bonding agent and curing light, which secures your restoration in a matter of minutes. We then polish the surface of your tooth to remove any excess bonding agent.

Traditionally, inlays and onlays were made with gold, but we now have tooth-colored ceramic and resin options that restore the appearance as well as the function of the damaged tooth. All of these restorations are durable, and with proper care, each of them will last many years, but gold is the strongest of the three. When aesthetics are not a concern, as is often the case with molars located in the back of the mouth, a gold inlay or onlay may be recommended.

Caring for Inlays and Onlays

There is no special care needed for inlays and onlays. Like a dental filling or crown, these restorations require very little maintenance. That said, it is important that you brush for two minutes twice a day and floss at least once a day. During your routine dental exams and cleanings, we will examine your inlay or onlay to make sure it’s secure and doesn’t need to be replaced. Inlays and onlays are a very stable, long-lasting restorative dental treatment, so it is very rare that they would need to be replaced.

Call 718-984-7162 to schedule your appointment.