Inlays & Onlays
Inlays and onlays are sometimes referred to as partial crowns. These partial crowns are utilized when there is still a healthy enamel portion of the tooth. An inlay or onlay is a like a puzzle piece that will be fitted into the remaining portion of the tooth to help increase its strength. This piece is usually crafted out of porcelain or gold, but can also be made of a composite material. We will make the determination as to which restoration will work best in your specific situation.
An inlay is used when there is not damage to any of the cusps of your tooth and is essentially placed within these cusps. An onlay is used when there is slightly more extensive damage to the tooth structure. This type of restoration is placed over at least one of the cusps on the tooth.
When we have decided to go ahead with an inlay or onlay, we will set aside 1-2 appointments for the entire process. In some cases, Dr. Conaghan will determine that we can use our Cerec Crown Technology, in which the partial crown can be made in our Bethesda office and placed in your mouth, all in one visit! If this is so, then Dr. Conaghan will begin by removing all of the decay in the tooth. Then, we will use our Cerec Cad-Cam Technology and take a digital image of the remaining tooth structure, which is then transmitted to our Cerec machine. This machine will mill your new porcelain inlay in 10-15 minutes. Then the inlay is taken out and tried in to make sure the fit is right, and then it is bonded in. After adjustments to your bite to make sure your new inlay is comfortable, you are ready to leave with a healthier and more cosmetically pleasing smile!
If an onlay is needed and Dr. Conaghan determines our Cerec technology is not compatible with your case, then we will take impressions of your tooth and send it to our lab where your new restoration will be crafted. While this new tooth is created, we will provide you with a temporary restoration. Our temporary restorations will resemble your natural teeth so that you can continue with your daily life without worrying about a missing or incompatible tooth.
During your second visit to the office, we will proceed with the placement of your final restoration. The onlay will be fitted comfortably into the mouth. We will make every effort to ensure that the new restoration feels exactly like one of your natural teeth. The final step in the process is to cement the onlay into your mouth, leaving you with a beautifully restored smile.