In some instances, the extent of decay or tooth loss in a tooth may involve such tooth volume loss that simple restorative techniques are not enough to restore the tooth form and function.
In cases where simple fillings will not suffice, inlays and onlays can be used to restore the form and function of a tooth.
While fillings are placed in the tooth immediately after preparation, inlays and onlays require that the tooth be prepared and an impression taken of this preparation.
The impression is then sent to the dental laboratory where the inlay or onlay is constructed to restore the tooth volume, form and function. Inlays and onlays can be constructed from composite resin material, porcelain or gold material and after construction are cemented in the patients mouth to complete the restoration.