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Porcelain Inlays and Onlays

Inlay and onlay restorations are custom-made fillings made of composite material, gold, or tooth-colored porcelain. Porcelain inlays  and onlays are popular because they resemble your natural teeth. A porcelain inlay or onlay is made by a professional dental laboratory and is permanently cemented into the tooth by your dentist.

Inlays and onlays can be utilized to conservatively repair teeth that have large defective fillings or have been damaged by decay or trauma. Inlays and onlays are an ideal alternative to conventional silver and composite fillings. In addition, they are more conservative than crowns because it is necessary to remove less of the tooth's structure. Onlays are essentially identical to inlays except one or more of the chewing cusps has also been affected and must be included in the restoration.

As with most dental restorations, inlays and onlays are not always permanent and may someday require replacement. They are highly durable, however, and will last many years, giving you a beautiful long-lasting smile.

Reasons for inlay and onlay restorations:

  • Broken or fractured teeth
  • Cosmetic enhancement
  • Decayed teeth
  • Fractured fillings
  • Large fillings

What does getting inlays or onlays involve?

An inlay or onlay procedure usually requires two appointments. Your first appointment will include taking several highly accurate impressions (molds) that will be used to create your custom inlay or onlay and a temporary restoration.

While the tooth is numb, Dr. Husen will remove any decay and/or old filling materials. The space will then be thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared, shaping the surface to properly fit an inlay or onlay restoration. A temporary filling will be applied to protect the tooth while your inlay or onlay is made by a dental laboratory.

At your second appointment, your new inlay or onlay will be carefully and precisely cemented into place. A few adjustments may be necessary to ensure a proper fit and that your bite is comfortable.

You will receive care instruction at the conclusion of your treatment. Good oral hygiene practices, a proper diet, and regular dental visits will lengthen the life of your new inlay or onlay.


If you have any questions about dental inlays or onlays, or would like to schedule an appointment, call Judy L. Husen, DDS at (415) 924-4244.

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