When a composite restoration is deemed as an insufficient treatment and may have the potential to compromise the structural integrity of a damaged tooth, inlays and onlays are often the treatment used to restore the tooth.
Though inlays and onlays are often made from gold, silver, composite or ceramic resin, porcelain has become the material of choice because of its strength and durability, as well as its ability to completely match the natural shade of your tooth.
An inlay is an indirect restoration (filling) made of a solid substance, such as gold, silver (amaglam) or porcelain. It is fitted and cemented into the cavity of the broken or damaged tooth.
An onlay is the same as an inlay, except that it extends to replace a cusp - a crown is an onlay that covers the surface of a tooth completely.
Composites can be used to restore a decaying tooth, as well as to make cosmetic enhancements such as brightening a smile or reshaping disfigured teeth.