If you are missing a large portion of your tooth, or if more than one-third of a tooth needs to be removed due to decay, an inlay or onlay may be the best way for Dr. Spees to restore the look and functionality of your smile.

What are inlays/onlays?

Inlays and onlays are strong fillings typically made of porcelain that are used to fill the gaps of a damaged or decayed tooth. They are often referred to as partial crowns.

Inlays and onlays use the remaining tooth as a "base" and are placed over the top of the tooth. They are much stronger than resin fillings and preserve more of the natural tooth than traditional crowns. An inlay is usually used when there is no damage to the cusp of the tooth, while onlays are used when there is more extensive damage.

What does the procedure involve?

Before an inlay or onlay can be placed, Dr. Spees will remove any damaged or decayed material from the affected tooth. After it is thoroughly cleaned, he will make an impression of the tooth. This impression will be used to make your inlay or onlay off-site at a dental lab. Porcelain inlays and onlays usually take about two weeks to be crafted. While you wait, Dr. Spees will provide you with a temporary restoration.

Once the porcelain inlay/onlay has been made, Dr. Spees will bond it to your tooth using a durable resin. Afterward, your inlay or onlay will be polished and ready to go.

You may experience some sensitivity for a few days, but once this subsides, you will have full use of your tooth again!

What if I have a severe problem?

Inlays and onlays are wonderful alternatives to resin fillings and crowns. However, sometimes the damage to a tooth is too severe for this type of treatment. In this case, Dr. Spees may recommend a one-visit CEREC® crown. These crowns are used to restore serious injuries while protecting the remaining tooth. They are made in-office using an advanced CEREC® processing machine. With CEREC®, your treatment will be completed in a single visit.

To learn more about inlays, onlays, or CEREC® crowns, call our Zionsville or Lebanon office to speak with a member of our professional team. Our Zionsville location can be reached at 317-873-2206, and our Lebanon location can be reached at 765-482-6672.

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