Inlays & Onlays
Cosmetic Dentistry Directory
nlays and onlays are porcelain fillings. Inlays are smaller, repairing damage within the cusps (top projections of the tooth), while onlays extend over the cusps to outside surfaces of the tooth. Whether you require inlays or onlays depends on how large an area needs repairing.
Porcelain vs. white dental composite
Teeth can be repaired with either dental porcelain or dental composite. That's a choice between porcelain inlays or onlays and what are known as white fillings, and the choice can be yours.
Both porcelain and composite (also known as bonding) look white and tooth-like and both are bonded to the tooth, holding it together and strengthening it. Here are their differences:
- Porcelain can be more closely matched to your natural tooth color, as it can have multiple, subtle shades of white blended together much as our teeth contain several shades of white
- Porcelain is hard and when placed in the tooth, it already has its exact shape, ready to fit precisely into that cavity
- Porcelain fillings are made in a dental lab from impressions of your teeth, which means two visits are required, the first to prepare the tooth and take the impression, and the second to fit the filling in and bond it to the tooth
- Porcelain has a pearly shine very similar to that of tooth enamel
- Porcelain stays white and does not respond to tooth whiteners
- Bonding is a soft, putty-like material and is shaped to fit your tooth, and then hardened with a curing light
- Bonding requires only one visit
- Bonding is white, and closely matched in color to your natural teeth, but lacks the sheen of porcelain and enamel
- Bonding costs less than porcelain
- Bonding can become a little stained over time, much as tooth enamel can
- Bonding does not last as long as porcelain
Porcelain fillings vs. metal amalgam fillings
Porcelain fillings are usually preferred:
(a) because they are more pleasing to the eye, resembling natural teeth in their pearly white sheen;
(b) because they are part of the tooth, bonded to it, thus preventing bacteria from getting between the tooth and the repair; and
(c) because they strengthen the tooth, holding it together and prolonging its life.