Inlays and Onlays for Damaged Teeth: What to Expect

Weighing your options between a filling, an onlay, or an inlay? If your tooth is damaged, a dental filling can strengthen it by up to 50%. On the other hand, inlays and onlays can strengthen a damaged tooth by up to 75%.

If the majority of the chewing surface of your tooth is damaged, you might benefit from the strength and coverage of an inlay or onlay. 

Inlays and onlays are bonded directly onto your teeth using special high-strength resins, making them a strong, durable choice. Dr. David Blaustein at Chelsea Dental Aesthetics in New York City offers inlays and onlays made from porcelain, gold, or composite resin.

If you’ve never had an inlay or onlay, you might wonder what the process is like. In this blog, we walk you through everything you can expect when you receive an onlay or inlay.

What are inlays and onlays?

Inlays and onlays are two types of restorations. Just like a cavity is treated with a filling, inlays and onlays also correct damaged teeth. 

One of the main differences is that inlays and onlays are indirect restorations, meaning they’re fabricated outside of your mouth. Fillings are direct restorations because they’re fabricated inside your mouth.

Dental inlays and onlays are both custom pieces fabricated in a lab and placed on your tooth. Onlays cover a larger area than an inlay, which can include covering the cusps of your tooth. Inlays, on the other hand, cover only the region between the cusps of your tooth.

What to expect when you receive an inlay or onlay

Inlays and onlays both require two appointments in our Chelsea office to complete the procedure. 

First appointment

Dr. Blaustein first removes any damaged or decayed tooth material. If we’re replacing an old or damaged filling, that filling is also removed. 

This process is similar to preparing your tooth for a filling. It’s a relatively painless and simple process. The affected area is numbed with a local anesthetic and then the damaged tooth material is cleared away with a dental drill.

Once the decay or filling is removed and your tooth is prepared, we take an impression of your tooth. This impression is sent to a lab, where technicians create a custom inlay or onlay for you. 

Once impressions are done, Dr. Blaustein applies a temporary sealant on your tooth to protect it. Your appointment ends, and you schedule your second appointment.

Second appointment

Before we place your inlay or onlay, we first remove the temporary sealant. Dr. Blaustein confirms that your new inlay or onlay fits properly, and he checks your bite as well.

Once everything is confirmed, he secures the inlay or onlay in the proper place. It’s bonded to your tooth with a strong resin and then polished to match the sheen of your natural teeth.

To learn more about inlays or onlays, call our Manhattan office to schedule an appointment. You can reach us at 917-633-7312 or online.

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