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Contact Us:

Redmond Medical Center
8301 161st Ave NE, #305
Redmond, WA 98052

425.885.5529 (p)
425.885.2024 (f)

Office Hours:

Mon-Thurs:  8am - 5pm


Brian J Dillon DDS PLLC is a BBB Accredited Dentist in Redmond, WA

Inlays and Onlays


What Are Inlays and Onlays (Indirect Restorations)?

Indirect restorations are similar to composite or tooth-colored fillings except that they are made in a dental laboratory and usually require two visits before being placed. Indirect restorations are considered when not enough tooth structure remains to support a filling but the tooth is not so severely damaged that it needs a crown.

During the first visit, the decay or an old filling is removed. An impression is taken to record the shape of the tooth being repaired and the teeth around it. The impression is sent to a dental laboratory that will make the indirect filling. A temporary filling is placed to protect the tooth while your restoration is being made. During the second visit, the temporary filling is removed, and Dr. Dillon will check the fit of the indirect restoration. Provided the fit is acceptable, it will be permanently cemented into place.

Inlays are similar to fillings but the entire work lies within the cusps (bumps) on the chewing surface of the tooth.

Onlays are more extensive than inlays, covering one or more cusps. Onlays are sometimes called partial crowns.

Inlays and onlays are more durable and last much longer than traditional fillings - up to 30 years (occasionally a lifetime).

They can be made of tooth-colored composite resin, porcelain, or gold.

Another type of inlay and onlay - direct inlays and onlays - follow the same processes and procedures as the indirect, the difference is that direct inlays and onlays are made in the dental office and can be placed in one visit. The type of inlay or onlay used depends on how much sound tooth structure remains and consideration of any cosmetic concerns.

What's a Temporary Filling and Why Would I Need One?

Temporary fillings are used under the following circumstances:

  1. For fillings that require more than one appointment - for example, before placement of gold fillings and for certain filling procedures (called indirect fillings) that use composite materials
  2. Following a root canal
  3. To allow a tooth's nerve to "settle down" if the pulp became irritated
  4. If emergency dental treatment is needed (such as to address a toothache)

Temporary fillings are just that; they are not meant to last. They usually fall out, fracture, or wear out within 1 month. It is important to set up an additional appointment to have your temporary filling replaced with a permanent one. If you don't, your tooth could become infected or you could have other complications.

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