What are ceramic inlays and onlays?

Inlays and onlays are ceramic restorations that match your existing tooth perfectly, creating a natural and aesthetically pleasing final look. When they are placed on a prepared tooth, they very effectively stabilize the tooth structure and prevent the decay from advancing further. When the ceramic is bonded within the center of the tooth only, the restoration is called an “inlay.” When the damage involves the center of the tooth and one or more of the points of the tooth, the restoration is called an “onlay.”

The benefits of ceramic inlays and onlays

For the vast majority of our patients, ceramic inlays and onlays are their restorations of choice because they provide a variety of benefits when compared to metal fillings, including:

  • Natural outcome. When performed correctly, they look, feel and function just like your natural teeth. Because they perfectly match the color of your other teeth, they create the appearance of a healthy and impeccable smile.
  • Preserve more of your natural tooth. Inlays and onlays very effectively treat decay while preserving as much of your natural tooth structure as possible.
  • Increased durability. They add strength to the decayed tooth, ensuring an extremely long-lasting restoration. In many cases, our Woodland Hills & Northridge dental patients report that their inlays and onlays endure for up to 30 years – which is much longer than traditional metal fillings.
  • Stain-resistant. Though they are tooth-colored, ceramic inlays and onlays don’t fade or stain over time. They are stain-resistant, so they will always match the rest of your teeth perfectly.

The inlays and onlays treatment experience

The placement of your inlay or onlay will be performed during two appointments at our Northridge dentist office. During your first visit, we will begin by preparing the tooth for the restoration, cleaning out the area and removing any damage. From there, we will take an impression of your tooth and send it to a lab, where your custom inlay or onlay will be created. Before you leave our office, we will place a temporary inlay or onlay on your decaying tooth, so it’s protected while we wait for your permanent restoration.

You will then return to our office so we can place the final inlay or onlay, taking special care to ensure it fits tightly in your tooth and does not negatively impact your bite in any way. Once we’ve confirmed that the placement has been a success, we will bond the ceramic inlay or onlay to your tooth to complete the restoration. There is no downtime associated with this procedure, so you’ll be able to return to work and your normal daily routine immediately.