Inlays and onlays are classified as indirect dental restorations, meaning that they are created in our lab and affixed to teeth in a second visit. Fillings, on the other hand, are direct dental treatments, since they are applied directly to teeth and can be done in one visit.
The porcelain used to create inlays and onlays has the ability to protect and strengthen teeth more than fillings, which are used to fill in small areas of decay or damage as reinforcement. Not only are they stronger, but unlike fillings, the ceramic is unlikely to compress after setting. As a result, you have a lower possibility of developing gaps between the filling and tooth walls where food particles can accumulate and cause problems. Further, the surface of the inlay is more likely to resist wearing away over time as you continue to use it for eating. Inlays and onlays also resemble the qualities of tooth enamel more so than the composite material used in fillings, helping you achieve a more natural-looking smile!
Often times, the empty space left behind after damage or decay is too large to be covered with a filling. In that case, porcelain inlays may be a more effective option. Each indirect filling is customized to match the exact shape and size of the empty gap to ensure a perfect fit! In case a cavity was too big, you might receive a temporary dental filling until the customized inlays are ready for fitting.