Restoring Damaged Teeth with Inlays and Onlays

When dental decay is too large to be treated with dental fillings but not large enough to require a dental crown, inlays and onlays are often recommended. Dr. Robert Hessberger always prefers conservative treatment whenever possible and offers inlays and onlays at his Chicago, IL, office. The restorative treatment uses durable, tooth-colored materials that fit snugly into the damaged portion of your tooth, protecting it from further damage. 

Illustration of inlays and onlays
Inlays are contained within the chewing surface of the tooth, while onlays extend down one or more sides.

Benefits of Inlays and Onlays

While both treatments use a composite resin which is crafted outside of the mouth, inlays fit within the chewing surface of your tooth while onlays cover one or more edges of your tooth and are generally larger.

The main benefit of inlays and onlays is that the treatment preserves as much of your natural tooth as possible. The procedure is generally performed when the decay is not extensive enough to require a dental crown. Following the procedure, patients often experience:

  • Relief from sensitivity or discomfort
  • Improved oral health
  • Natural-looking results
  • Cost savings by preventing more expensive restorative treatments
  • Stronger bite and improved chewing function

Am I a Candidate?

Candidates for this procedure have one or more teeth with decay or other damage that cannot be adequately treated with dental fillings. The damage must also not be extensive enough that a dental crown, root canal, or tooth extraction is called for. Candidates for this procedure must also be willing to address any harmful habits, such as teeth grinding or inadequate cleaning techniques, that created the current damage.

The main benefit of inlays and  onlays  is that the treatment preserves as much of your natural tooth as possible. 

Inlays and onlays are not for everyone. Dr. Hessberger will closely examine your teeth and medical history to determine if this restorative treatment is right for you.

How the Procedure Works

Before your procedure, Dr. Hessberger will apply a local anesthetic to the treatment area. Once you are comfortable, he will remove the compromised tissue and eliminate any bacteria on the tooth. Once the decay has been removed and the teeth are clean, Dr. Hessberger will take an impression of the tooth that will be used to manufacture your custom inlay or onlay. That day or at a separate appointment, Dr. Hessberger will place your inlay or onlay and assess your bite. Once the restoration is confirmed to be a good fit, he will attach it to the tooth.

Following the placement of your inlay or onlay, you might experience some sensitivity for a few days. Your new restoration will be fabricated to withstand the stresses of normal eating, but will not be impervious to damage. Wearing a mouthguard to address teeth grinding at night and avoiding bad habits, such as opening packages with your teeth, are two steps that can ensure inlays and onlays are not damaged. 

Visit Our Office to Learn More

Dr. Hessberger has been practicing dentistry since 1984 and can provide a full assessment of your oral health to determine your candidacy for this procedure. To learn more about our restorative treatment options, including inlays and onlays, contact our office online or call (773) 792-5562.

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5511 N Harlem Ave
Chicago, IL 60656

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