Inlays and Onlays
When strength is required to restore larger cavities, a laboratory made restoration is usually recommended , usually requiring two visits .This is commonly called an inlay or the larger version, an onlay. Most commonly this is made of porcelain, which has a hardness somewhat greater than natural tooth enamel (unlike quartz composite, which is significantly ‘softer’). Porcelain, like composite is tooth coloured. The best material is still gold . However it only tends to be used in areas that are truly not visible, eg. at the back in the top teeth. The longevity of porcelain or gold inlays/onlays is many, many years , even decades . Unlike composite (or amalgam ) materials , these do not ‘wear out’. Unlike fillings, onlays and crowns are not ‘hole fillers’; their function is to support and strengthen a weak tooth.