Stable, Natural Looking Solution for Large Cavities
A dental inlay is a type of restoration that typically looks like natural teeth and fixes an existing tooth that is too damaged to support a tooth filling but not so much that it needs a dental crown. This is also a natural-looking alternative compared to silver dental fillings.
An inlay is one of the restorative methods used to repair a tooth after it sustains trauma from an injury or decay that does not affect the cusps (points) of the tooth. After taking an impression, our office will send it to a laboratory where the inlay is made. Inlays are manufactured from porcelain or composite resin material to match the color of the tooth, which provides an almost invisible dental restoration while repairing the chewing surface.
In theory, fillings and inlays can often be used interchangeably but inlays are typically reserved for much larger cavities. Both procedures involve removing a cavity with a drill and filling that empty space but how that space is filled is where they materially differ.
An inlay is made precisely to the shape and size of the empty space and does not contract to the same degree as a filling after being placed, so there is less chance of the restoration failing due to shrinking or creating a gap between the filling and the surrounding tooth structure. Inlays also create a tougher and more durable surface for use when chewing, which can create a more reliable long term solution.