Porcelain Dental Inlays and Onlays

Philadelphia, Main Line, and Ardmore, Pennsylvania Cosmetic Dentistry

Dental inlays and dental onlays are restorations for teeth with decay, cracks, or large chips broken out of them. Whether Dr. Lindsey Marshall does an inlay or an onlay depends on the size of the damaged area.

  • An inlay is a porcelain filling that fits inside the tooth’s cusps;
  • An onlay extends further, over one or more cusps, and repairs part of the tooth’s outside surface. If a tooth is too damaged to be restored with an onlay, it would require a dental crown.

Philadelphia cosmetic dentist Dr. Marshall uses the most advanced materials and technology to place dental inlays and onlays at her Philadelphia, Pennsylvania cosmetic dentistry office.

Dental inlays and onlays are made from porcelain matched to your natural teeth. Inlays and onlays are often used to replace existing mercury fillings. Porcelain is more structurally sound than metal fillings, since the ceramic is bonded to the tooth rather than just packed into it tightly. Inlays and onlays can prevent bacteria from spreading between the restoration and the tooth and causing further decay.

The Inlay and Onlay Procedure

The procedure for a dental inlay or onlay is the same as that for a porcelain filling. In the case of onlays, there is more damaged tooth tissue to be removed.

The first step is removal of bacteria from the tooth, along with debris and the decayed tissue they have created. When the tooth is entirely clean, it is photographed for input into our CEREC system.

Dr. Marshall will use the CAD-CAM software that is part of CEREC technology to design your inlay or onlay. She will choose a small block of dental porcelain closely matching your teeth, and the CEREC mill will sculpt it to the exact size and dimensions she has input.

Your porcelain dental inlay or onlay will be temporarily fitted so Dr. Marshall can make sure your bite is unaffected. She will ask you how it feels and will test your bite, making small modifications to the restoration if necessary until you are both pleased. Then she will bond it permanently to the tooth, making it a part of that tooth. It will not be visible as a dental restoration, except to a cosmetic dentist.

Porcelain onlays are a valuable focus of cosmetic dentistry because they can rejuvenate a badly damaged tooth. Onlays fill a gap in the restoration continuum between a filling and a crown. By holding the outside surface to the inside of the tooth, the restoration prolongs the tooth’s life and gives it new chewing or biting strength.

To learn more about how damaged teeth can be invisibly and durably repaired, please contact our cosmetic dentistry office in Philadelphia at (610) 649-0696.

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