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Materials for Inlays & Onlays


Materials for Inlays & Onlays
Inlays and onlays are usually made from four types of material:

    This tooth coloured alternative has been used for both inlays and onlays for many years. It can give a very lifelike result but may require more preparation of the remaining tooth than other choices. Wear of opposing teeth because of the abrasive qualities of certain porcelains is also an important consideration.

    Pure gold is not used but instead special gold alloys are utilised which can still be gold coloured but are harder than pure gold. Gold is an excellent choice for an inlay or onlay due to its long term stability and high survival rate in the mouth. The amount of tooth preparation required can also be less than for a porcelain inlay or onlay. The potential disadvantage of gold is due to its colour. Many people would prefer a tooth coloured alternative instead but many dentists still choose gold for inlays or onlays in their own mouths.

    Inlays and onlays can be constructed in composite resin. This is tooth coloured and is usually pressure cured in the dental laboratory to give it optimum strength. There are less long term studies regarding composite, but initial findings suggest that it has a similar lifespan to porcelain inlays or onlays. Many dentists like composite inlays and onlays because they are much less abrasive than porcelain and so kinder to the opposing teeth.

Using Computer Aided Design Computer Aided Manufacture (CAD-CAM) equipment it is possible to mill zirconia into inlays and onlays. This tooth coloured ceramic is exceptionally tough and resilient and studies suggest that its resistance to fracture in laboratory conditions is better than other tooth coloured inlay and onlay options. It is too early to say whether this will prove true in the mouth as these techniques are still relatively new.