When an area of tooth decay is too large to support a traditional tooth-colored filling, but doesn't require the full coverage of a crown, an inlay or onlay (sometimes called an indirect filling) can be used. An inlay is generally used to cover the center of the tooth's chewing surface while an onlay is better for the edges (cusps) of the tooth. Cosmetic and Restoration Dentist Dr. Albert Ambriz helps patients determine the best treatment (inlay, onlay, crown, tooth-colored filling, or another restorative procedure) for their personalized treatment plan. At the Ambriz Center for Reconstructive & Cosmetic Dentistry in Dallas, TX, patients can choose the best material (porcelain, metal, porcelain over metal) to fit their needs and cosmetic goals. The inlay or onlay will be custom made at a professional dental laboratory and carefully fitted by Dr. Ambriz for a comfortable, long-lasting restoration.
An indirect filling can be an option for patients who have small to moderate areas of decay or damage that is affecting the chewing surface of the molars or premolars. An inlay is used on the center of the tooth's chewing surface while an only is used for the edges of the tooth. An inlay or onlay provides more coverage and strength than a traditional filling, but does not completely cover the tooth with a dental crown. An inlay or onlay is not recommended for small areas or minor damage, like a chip or shallow fracture. An indirect filling is also not appropriate for large areas of decay and damage as well as an abscess that has weakened the structure of the tooth.
What to Expect
An indirect filling typically takes two appointments to complete. During the first appointment, Dr. Ambriz will take impressions so the inlay or onlay can be custom made at a dental laboratory. Patients will be given a temporary filling or crown while their filling is being made. When the restoration is returned to the office, the patient will schedule an appointment to have their inlay or onlay fitted and bonded. Dr. Ambriz will clean and dry the area before the restoration is applied. Once it is in place, Dr. Ambriz will gently shape and polish the indirect filling so it looks and feels like the patient's natural teeth.
Patients should not need any recovery time after their inlay or onlay is completed. Most indirect fillings last at least five years, but this will vary based on the material used and individual wear. Patients should brush and floss daily to keep the restoration healthy, along with any other home products or treatments recommended by the dentist. Professional dental examinations and cleanings should also be scheduled regularly so the dentist can determine when the restoration needs to be replaced.
Inlays and onlays are typically covered at least in part by dental insurance. Our office will work with the patient's insurance company to determine their coverage and out-of-pocket costs. After the patient's examination, Dr. Ambriz can go over treatment options, including materials and estimated costs. Our office is also happy to help patients understand payment options, including payment plans and low-interest medical financing with Care Credit and Lending Club.
Plan Your Procedure
The Right Coverage
If this filling is too small and that crown is too big, consider an inlay or onlay for perfect coverage. Indirect fillings can be custom made from a variety of materials for a long-lasting, comfortable solution to areas of tooth decay. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Ambriz in Dallas to learn more about tooth-colored fillings, inlays, onlays, crowns, and other restorative dental treatments.