Porcelain inlays and onlays
When a tooth that has been destroyed from moderate to extensive by decay, previous drilling, or fracture, but still has sufficient enamel remaining, one innovative way it can be restored is with a porcelain inlays or onlays. An inlay is a restoration in which a portion of occlusal (biting) surface is replaced with porcelain. An onlay will restore a larger portion of the biting surface of the tooth. These are considered very conservative restorations. The porcelain allows an excellent esthetic result. It is attached to the tooth using a bonding procedure, allowing it to become very strong. It can be used with wonderful results in small, medium, and even large restorations lasting more than 12 years, relatively trouble-free.
Advantages include the excellent aesthetics, high strength, predicted longevity, and conservative preparation, that is, less drilling than a crown. If the porcelain does chip, it can be repaired. However, you should not chew ice cubes, “jaw breakers,” or any other hard candy with these or any other type of restoration.
Resin inlays and onlays
Resin inlays and onlays are used in the same areas as the porcelain inlays and onlays. They are very natural in appearance and, like porcelain, are bonded into place. They are considered an extremely conservative restoration. Two appointments, approximately 2 weeks apart, are required to fabricate the resin inlay/onlay. The tooth will be protected with a temporary filling while the final restoration is being made. The wear and tear of the resin is similar to that of enamel. So unlike porcelain, it will not have a tendency to wear the opposing natural tooth structure.
Unless you have a preference, we will select the most appropriate material for your dental needs. The cost of each is comparable. Both types are excellent choices and are considered highly conservative in the amount of drilling needed.