Frequently Asked Questions

What is an onlay/inlay?

An onlay/inlay an ideal way to restore a decayed or broken down tooth. The special shape of an onlay/inlay protects the tooth from further damage whilst leaving healthy un-weakened parts of the tooth intact.

Why would I need an onlay/inlay?

There are a number of reasons for instance:

  • The tooth may have been weakened by having a very large filling or extensive decay extending under one of the cusps (points).
  • You may have a root filling that will need a crown to protect it.
  • You may have a large mercury amalgam filling which you would like removed in order to improve the appearance of the tooth.

What are onlays/inlays made of?

They were originally made of gold but are nowadays mostly made of tooth coloured materials. Zirconium/Porcelain or pressed porcelain are the strongest and most natural materials. Composite resin based materials like Belle-Glass are a less expensive alternative but do not retain their appearance for so long.

How is the tooth prepared for an onlay/inlay crown?

All decayed or weakened parts of the tooth are removed; the dentist will then take an impression of the prepared tooth. This impression, along with a record of the shade of your tooth will be sent to the dental laboratory where your onlay/inlay will be made. A temporary filling will be placed in your tooth to protect it for the two weeks which it takes for the technician to make your permanent onlay/inlay.

Will the onlay/inlay be noticeable?

A pressed porcelain or zirconium/porcelain crown would be virtually unnoticeable.

How is the onlay/inlay crown fixed to the teeth?

Once the fit and appearance has been checked and approved by you and the bite checked and perfected by the dentist, the onlay/inlay crown will be cemented in place with a special dental cement.

How much do onlay/inlays cost?

Pressed porcelain onlay/inlays crowns generally cost around £400. Zirconium/porcelain crowns are a little dearer whilst gold ones will be priced according to the weight of gold used.