Many patients are unaware of what inlays and onlays are, but once they learn about this restorative dental treatment, it is a good fit for repairing many small issues. They are used primarily to fix a tooth that has been affected by decay. While they are similar, there are a few small differences between the two.
While similar to fillings, onlays and inlays are often used for more extensive tooth related decay. For teeth that have also had considerable work done previously, inlays and onlays can strengthen the tooth, and possibly prevent further issues.
Similarly to how a patient would get a crown, inlays and onlays require multiple visits to the dentist to complete the procedure. The first visit is focused on removing previous dental work and decay from the tooth. After an imprint is made of the area, it is sent to a lab where the actual dental appliance can be custom made. A temporary is put in place to protect the tooth until the finalized product is completed. On a follow-up visit, the permanent appliance is put in place, and your dentist will make sure the fit is proper.