The 2 conservative methods of restoring normal tooth structure after decay or damage are inlays and onlays.
A dental inlay is suitable for replacing the tooth structure within the cusp tips of the tooth.
Dental inlays are made of tooth colored porcelain or composite resin which is used to repair the chewing surface of the tooth.
Dental inlays are created in the lab after the dentist takes the impression of your teeth/tooth. The dentist will give temporary restoration and permanent inlays are fixed in the 2nd visit.
Today, dental inlays can be created in one visit because the dentist mills your porcelain dental inlays on site. They cement them in a single visit.
With porcelain inlays, teeth become stronger and look natural. They do not contract or expand with hot and cold foods. Inlays are durable and fit perfectly.
Metal fillings weaken the tooth structure and are not durable also.
Dental inlays also require the same care just as your natural teeth. Maintain good oral hygiene and visit the dentist regularly.
If the damage is more extensive, dental onlay is required to cover the entire chewing surface.
Dental only is custom-made in a dental laboratory and then bonded to a damaged tooth.
These can be made from various materials- porcelain, gold and resin. The difference is in their appearance which requires generally 2 visits.
The dentist will take the impressions of your teeth and then the lab will prepare.
The material should be used on the basis of dental onlays location.
It is not an expensive process and helps in saving your healthy tooth. It is a great option if you have mild to moderate tooth decay. This is an alternative to a full coverage crown.