Inlays and onlays mimic the process of crowns but provide a non-invasive advantage. Inlays and onlays repair existing tooth structure, rather than replace it. But they’re also used to replace old or damaged fillings, so the term “indirect fillings” is sometimes used to describe them.
Typically you will need either an inlay or an onlay, as their functions are redundant if placed together. Here are some examples for both:
If you have decay in the tooth lining or between the cusps, inlays are placed in these gaps. This is more like a dental filling function, except inlays are distinctly preferable to fillings because the choice of materials is superior. Inlays also offer greater protection against decay and occlusal forces.
If your decay extends throughout the biting surface, an onlay fits within the grooves but also covers the cusps. Onlays also provide excellent restoration of fractured teeth. Again, preserving the existing tooth structure is the primary benefit. A crown would involve tearing out the damaged cusps, while an onlay is simply inserted over them.
For more about the restorative uses of inlays and onlays, ask your Beverly Hills dentist.