Tuesday, January 3, 2017

What are Inlays and Onlays?

The Shoal Creek Prosthodontic Group in Austin offers the full range of dental restorations. The most basic means of restoring a cavity is with a filling; for full-mouth restorations, we use conventional dentures. One step above fillings are inlays and onlays. Also known as partial crown, these are restorations to the biting surface of the tooth.

The differences between inlays and onlays are how much of the tooth’s surface they replace and which parts they cover. Onlays are slightly larger and cover the cusps of the crown, which are the pointy bits surrounding the indentation of a molar or premolar. After the decayed part of the tooth has been removed, Dr. Shaw will make an impression of the patient’s mouth to use as the basis for designing a new inlay or onlay. The impression is sent to a dental manufacturer who mills the restoration out of porcelain. If the patient prefers, plastic and glass resins or gold can also be used as materials for this type of restoration (or for many other types, as well).

After a few weeks, the new inlay/onlay will be ready for insertion. During the waiting period, patients can be given temporary restorations. The new, custom-fitted inlay/only will be cemented over the tooth, returning optimal bite function and appearance.

Frederick Shaw, DDS, operates the Shoal Creek Prosthodontic Group at 1500 West 38th St, Suite 34, Austin, Texas, 78731. To schedule an appointment, call 512-451-7491 or visit and fill out a contact sheet.

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