Recommended For Inlay Onlay
An inlay/onlay is recommended for patients with large cavities.
Not Recommended For Inlay Onlay
Some patients may require a dental implant fitted with a crown instead of an inlay/onlay, if the cavity is too large for the treatment to be effective.
Number Of Trips Abroad
Duration Of Operation
2 to 4 hours
4 to 5 days
An Inlay/Onlay is a dental restoration procedure which can be compared to a dental filling – any cavity found in a tooth is filled with a hard material and cemented in place. As with regular dental fillings, an inlay and only can be produced from different materials, including composite resin, gold, or porcelain. All materials have several pros and cons which must be kept in perspective when choosing the type of inlay and onlay you wish to get:
Advantages of Gold Inlay/Onlay:
Gold inlays or Onlays are some of the strongest types of indirect dental restoration materials available. These will not break or fracture, even with many years of usage and sustained pressure since their strength is comparable to the patient’s natural tooth. This means that as time goes by and the patient’s tooth gradually wears down, so will the restoration. Gold inlays / onlays can last up to 30 years if properly cared for. Other materials do not offer such long results.
Disadvantages of Gold Inlay/Onlay:
As you might expect, gold inlays/onlays can be quite expensive, especially compared to other materials such as composite resin. They are also unable to match the patient’s tooth colour which means that they cannot be used for visible teeth such as the front teeth.
Advantages of Porcelain inlay/onlay
Porcelain inlays/onlays are very durable and can be compared to gold inlays/onlays but with a difference – they can be made to look like the patient’s natural tooth colour. Porcelain is also naturally reflective, meaning that it will mimic natural teeth in terms of translucency as well. With these advantages, porcelain inlays/onlays can be applied for visible teeth such as the front teeth without worries of aesthetics.
Disadvantages of Porcelain inlay/onlay
Porcelain is one of the most expensive materials in the dentistry field, and in some cases gold could be the more affordable option. Manufacturing these inlays/onlays requires a highly skilled technician and placing them requires a highly trained specialist, adding up to the total cost of a treatment.
Advantages of Composite Resin inlay/onlay
Composite resin also looks like the patient’s natural teeth in terms of colour and translucency. This material is also somewhat cheaper compared to other options, and since the composite resin inlay/onlay does not require manufacturing, the total cost of the treatment is lower.
Disadvantages of Composite Resin inlay/onlay
They are certainly not as durable as their porcelain or gold counterparts. Composite resin as a material for dental restoration can get stained quite easily, often requiring replacement.
Patients will required to do a set of X-rays in order to ensure the health of the tooth’s structure. If the tooth’s roots are damaged or infected, root canal treatment will be necessary before the inlay/onlay procedure can begin.
How It Is Performed
The dentist will inject anaesthesia into the patient’s gum, in order to avoid any potential pain and discomfort during the procedure. The decayed parts of the tooth are then removed and space is created for the new inlay/onlay. An impression of the patient’s teeth is taken and sent to a dental technician which will create the inlay or onlay. A temporary inlay or filling is placed in the newly created space, in order to protect it from any decay. The patient will have to return in about a week to have the permanent inlay/onlay placed. Once the dentist receives the inlay/onlay from the dental technician, the provisory filling is removed and the permanent inlay/onlay is cemented into place. The tooth will then be polished, making the restoration less visible.
Patients will have to be a bit careful with their restored tooth for a few days after undergoing the procedure, and avoid putting too much pressure on it, giving the dental cement enough time to harden properly. Most patients will experience slight discomfort and pain, as well as an increase in teeth sensitivity for a week or two after undergoing the treatment. These post-treatment effects can be dealt with by using desensitizing tooth paste and light painkillers.
Risks and complications associated with this procedure can include:
● Tooth cracking during the cleaning process
● Removing too much material from the tooth
● Secondary caries
● Tooth fractures
Inlay/onlay side effects can include: ● Sensitive teeth ● Discomfort ● Pain
The average inlay/onlay success rate is 96.1% at 10 years after the procedure, 87% at 20 years and 73.5% at 30 years after the procedure.
Before And After
When properly performed and cared for, inlays and onlays can last a lifetime, just as dental crowns would.
– Inlay vs onlay – What is the difference? Both are indirect restoration procedures. They are very similar, the only difference being that an onlay also replaces the tooth cusp, the elevated part of the tooth. – Are there any alternatives to inlays or onlays? Dental crowns are actually a type of onlay – crowns cover all of the surface of the tooth. – Is it painful? Not at all, discomfort is comparable to that of a normal filling.
This content is written and reviewed by our medical content team in September, 2019.