When a middle or back tooth (we call these premolars and molars) is damaged by dental decay or breakage we used to be faced with the decision of placing a filling or if the damage was more extensive, making a crown. But there are many situations where the damage to the tooth is in the medium category. We now have the technology to restore that tooth back to essentially brand new using a dental treatment called an inlay or an onlay.
INLAY: A porcelain replacement for a section of a tooth that is a bit too damaged for just a filling but does not require a full crown (cap).
ONLAY: A porcelain replacement for a section of a tooth that has been damaged to a point where one of the biting or chewing tips (cusp) requires strengthening or replacement.
Inlays and onlays are so lifelike and beautiful that another dentist or hygienist can miss the fact that a tooth has had that treatment. Very similar to a crown, an inlay or onlay is made by a dental technician during which time you will be wearing a temporary while the technician creates the inlay or only.