Inlays and Onlays, also called indirect fillings are similar to traditional dental fillings and offer a well-fitting, stronger, longer-lasting reparative solution to tooth decay or similar damage. These are made in a dental laboratory and then fitted and bonded to the damaged tooth.These can be considered when not enough tooth structure remains to support a filling but the tooth is not so severely damaged that it needs a crown.
The procedure for inlays and onlays usually takes two dental visits. During the first visit, the decay or an old filling is removed, an impression of the tooth to be repaired and its surrounding tooth is taken and is sent to a dental laboratory to make the indirect filling. Meanwhile a temporary filling is placed to protect the tooth while your restoration is being made. During the second visit, the temporary filling is removed, the fit of the indirect filling is checked and if the fit is acceptable, it is permanently cemented into place. The procedure is done with use of a local anesthetic to minimize pain.
Inlays and onlays have several advantages like more durability than traditional fillings (last up to 30 years),superior fit, no discoloration, easy tooth cleaning, etc. they preserve the maximum amount of healthy tooth structure while restoring decayed or damaged areas, helping to ensure functional longevity. Thus these restorations are beneficial from both an aesthetic and functional point of view.