Dental inlays are used in a restorative procedure that repairs back teeth that suffer from mild and moderate levels of decay and cavities. Porcelain and composite inlays can also be used for restoring cracked teeth that are not too severely damage like those that require a crown.

Since inlays are created from porcelain which is a tooth-colored material, they are ideal for replacing metallic dental fillings in order to achieve an even white look.

Procedure for getting porcelain inlays

Inlays are used for treating damage that lies deep within the indented surface of the tooth, including replacing metallic fillings. Because they are bonded to the tooth surface, they make teeth structurally stronger and also prevent bacteria from seeping in and causing cavities.

Unlike metallic fillings that are molded in place to fill a cavity, inlays require custom fitting, so the procedure cannot be done in one visit.

Inlays differ from onlays in that onlays are used to treat damage to the cusps (biting surfaces). The placement procedure of onlays is the same as that of dental inlays.

Inlays are done in two stages:

First visit

After you have been diagnosed with a cavity, your dentist will treat and clean out the damaged and decayed area. He will then take an impression of your tooth, which will be sent to the lab where a matching inlay will be created. The dentist will place a temporary inlay over the affected tooth to protect it until your second scheduled appointment.

Second visit

On your second visit, your dentist will remove the temporary inlay and replace it with the permanent one. The inlay is put into place using a strong bonding cement and the area is then polished to achieve optimal bite.

The procedure is really simple and the only side effect you’ll suffer from is mild tenderness. You can return to your daily activities soon after the inlay is placed.

You might need to come for an additional visit to assess your bite and comfort.

What results should you expect?

Since the inlays will be made from porcelain, they will be virtually invisible and unnoticeable by those around you.

Whereas metal fillings usually expand and contract based on changes in temperature, inlays will not expand or contract, meaning your teeth are less likely to fracture or weaken. Therefore you can eat cold or hot foods and drinks as you wish.

Advantages of using inlays

  • Using inlays will require lesser tooth reduction as compared to when metal fillings are used. This will allow as much of the structure of your natural tooth to be conserved, thus reducing your likelihood of needing crowns or other extensive dental procedures in the future.
  • Inlays are constructed in such a way that makes them strengthen your teeth more.
  • Due to the durability of porcelain, inlays can last for 30 years or more, which is longer than metal fillings.
  • Inlays will create a healthier and even looking smile, leading to more confidence.
  • They will eliminate tooth sensitivity and tooth loss.

Side effects after treatment

For a few days after treatment, the treated tooth will be a bit sensitive but this can be treated with the appropriate toothpaste.