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1. What are the benefits of ceramic inlays/onlays?

The benefits of ceramic inlays/onlays are numerous and include the following:

1.1. Aesthetically Pleasing

One of the most significant benefits of ceramic inlays and onlays is their superior aesthetics. The ceramic material closely matches the natural color of your teeth, making the restoration virtually invisible. This is especially beneficial for restorations in the occlusal surface of teeth, where appearance matters most.

1.2. Durability and Strength

Ceramic inlays and onlays are highly durable and can last many years, even decades, with proper care. They strengthen the tooth’s structure by up to 75%, making them an excellent choice for teeth that have suffered significant damage. Unlike metal fillings, ceramic inlays/onlays will not expand or contract with temperature changes, reducing fracture risk.

1.3. Superior Fit

Because ceramic inlays and onlays are custom-made in a dental lab, they offer a superior fit to traditional fillings. This ensures that they are comfortable and function like your natural teeth.

1.4. Preserves Tooth Structure

Another significant benefit of ceramic inlays/onlays is that they require less tooth reduction than metal fillings. This means preserving more natural tooth structure promotes long-term oral health.

1.5. Resistance to Stains

Unlike resin-based composite fillings, ceramic inlays and onlays resist staining. This means that your restoration will keep its natural-looking color for much longer.

1.6. Biocompatible

Ceramic is a biocompatible material, which means it is safe to use in the body. It will not cause allergic reactions or irritation, making it a good choice for patients with metal allergies or sensitivities.

1.7. Easy Maintenance

Like natural teeth, ceramic inlay and onlay can be easily cleaned with regular brushing and flossing. This makes them easy to maintain and contributes to their long lifespan.

Ceramic inlay - onlay

2. How long do ceramic inlays/onlays last?

With proper care and maintenance, ceramic inlays and onlays can last for many years. On average, they have a lifespan of 10 to 30 years, making them a long-term solution for tooth restoration. However, the lifespan can be influenced by several factors, including oral health habits, the location of the restoration in the mouth, the patient’s diet, and the dentist’s skill.

Regular brushing and flossing can help keep the restorations clean and free from bacteria that can cause decay. Regular dental check-ups are also important, as your dentist can spot and address any issues early on.

The location of the inlay or onlay in your mouth can also influence how long it lasts. For instance, restorations on molars are often subjected to greater chewing forces, potentially shortening their lifespan.

Diet is another factor to consider. Foods and drinks high in sugar can cause decay, while complex or crunchy foods can damage the restoration. It’s best to avoid these foods or consume them in moderation to prolong the life of your inlays and onlays.

Lastly, the skill and expertise of your dentist play a crucial role in the lifespan of your ceramic inlays and onlays. A well-fitted and precisely placed restoration can last longer than a poorly fitted one.

Read More: What is metal inlay/onlay?

3. How are ceramic inlays/onlays made?

Let’s delve into the step-by-step process of how ceramic inlays and onlays are made.

3.1. Initial Examination and Preparation

The first step in creating ceramic inlays or onlays involves thoroughly examining the patient’s teeth by the dentist. This is to assess the extent of the damage or decay and to determine whether an inlay or onlay is the best restoration option. Once it is decided that a ceramic inlay or onlay is suitable, the dentist will prepare the tooth by removing the decayed or damaged portion.

3.2. Impressions and Molding

After the tooth is prepared, an impression of the tooth is taken using a dental putty. This impression is then sent to a dental laboratory, which is used as a template to create a precise mold of the tooth.

3.3. Crafting the Inlay/Onlay

The mold is used to carefully craft the inlay or onlay from a block of high-quality dental fillings. The ceramic is chosen for its strength, durability, and ability to be color-matched to the patient’s natural teeth. The restoration is shaped and polished in the lab to ensure a perfect fit and a flawless appearance.

3.4. Computer-Aided Design (CAD)

Some dentists use computer-aided design (CAD) technology to design the inlay or onlay. The impression of the tooth is scanned into a computer, which uses the data to create a 3D restoration model. This process allows for extremely precise and personalized restorations.

3.5. Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM)

Once the design is finalized, the data is sent to a milling machine that carves the inlay or onlay from a ceramic block. This process, known as Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM), produces restorations with exceptional accuracy.

3.6. Fitting and Bonding

The final step is the fitting and bonding the inlay or onlay to the patient’s tooth. The dentist will first ensure that the restoration fits perfectly, making any necessary adjustments. Once satisfied, a special dental cement bonds the inlay or onlay to the tooth. The restoration is then polished to a high shine, blending seamlessly with the surrounding natural teeth.

While the cost of ceramic inlays/onlays can be substantial, it’s important to remember that they are a long-term investment in your oral health. They provide a durable and natural-looking solution for restoring damaged teeth, helping you maintain a healthy and beautiful smile for years.

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Managed by Doctor TRAN NGOC TU, Ph.D. in Dentistry, Tokyo University, Japan

Monday – Saturday:

8h – 12h; 14h – 20h
8h – 12h

  • Business registration certificate number: 0309935880, issued by the Department of Planning and Investment of Ho Chi Minh City on May 10, 2022.

  • Medical examination and treatment practice certificate number: 001272/HCM-CCHN, issued by the Department of Health of Ho Chi Minh City on July 20, 2012.

  • Medical examination and treatment operation license number: 01839/SYT-GPHD, issued by the Department of Health of Ho Chi Minh City on March 18, 2014.


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