A new generation of superb restorations is now available. Porcelain restorations are among the best restorations available today. Porcelain possesses physical properties that resemble that of a natural tooth. When a large, defective filling needs to be replaced or a significant portion of the tooth has been destroyed by decay, porcelain inlays and onlays can be an excellent way to restore the tooth. A porcelain inlay is smaller and does not cover the cups of the teeth. An onlay is larger and covers one or more cusps or corners of a tooth.

Besides its excellent cosmetic properties- porcelain restoration will be custom colored to match you own teeth, they have many advantages over other filling materials. When used to replace a silver filling, they will add strength to the tooth. Porcelain is also harder and more durable than white composite fillings and would not wear off with the time.  The inlay or onlay will be bonded to your tooth, which creates a resilient, watertight seal. A porcelain onlay will also be more conservative, saving more natural tooth structure, than a full crown.

How is a porcelain inlay or onlay done?

 Two separate appointments will be necessary. At the first visit, after patient is numb, doctor will remove old filling material (if it is there) and decay, the tooth is shaped to allow room for the thickness of the inlay/onlay. After a mould is made of your tooth, the inlay/onlay is custom-made by lab technicians according to the dentist's instructions. This is a very precise process, which ensures an exact fit. At the end of this first appointment, a temporary inlay/onlay will be made to cover and protect your tooth while the new permanent one is being made. At the second appointment, the porcelain inlay/onlay is permanently bonded to your tooth using an intense blue light, which cures and hardens the bonding agent.

The disadvantages of the porcelain restorations are higher cost than conventional fillings and requirement for two visits. But considering the fact that it is much better restorations, which would usually last 3-4 times longer than filling, and protect the tooth much better adding strength to a weak tooth make them the treatment of choice for many patients.