When a large portion of the tooth is broken down and a more durable, long-term restoration is desired, a porcelain inlay or onlay is often the treatment of choice. They are much more conservative than a crown, requiring less tooth structure to be removed.
An inlay rests between the cusps (bumps) of the tooth, and an only rests over one or more of the cusps of the tooth. This is a two-step procedure that involves the removal of the decayed or broken tooth, an impression is taken and a temporary placed. Two weeks later we place the permanent inlay/onlay that has been made at the lab under intense heat and pressure to increase it’s strength/durability. The temporary is quickly and easily removed (no drilling) and the permanent restoration bonded to the tooth. This bonding procedure, combined with the strength of the porcelain restore the tooth close to it’s natural strength.
Most of the inlays/onlays we do are tooth colored porcelain, but it is possible to have a gold inlay/onlay. This is sometimes the best choice if you are a heavy clencher or grinder.