The size and shape of a porcelain inlay is similar to that of a filling; both fit snugly inside the cusps of a tooth to replace the decayed part we removed. The process of making a porcelain inlay, however, is more similar to making a crown, because both are crafted in a dental laboratory to precisely fit your tooth. That's why it takes two or more appointments to restore a tooth with a porcelain inlay.
We want the entire procedure to be comfortable for you, so the first thing we do is make sure the affected tooth and surrounding area are numb. Depending on the size of the filling and which tooth we're working on, we may use a rubber dam. A rubber dam is a small, flexible rubber sheet that isolates the teeth we're working on and prevents anything from falling to the back of your throat. Then we use the handpiece to remove the decay and shape the tooth.
The next step is to take impressions of your teeth, which we then use to make models on which the dental laboratory will craft your porcelain inlay. Sometimes we put a small piece of string in the space between the tooth and the gum. We use the string to gently push the gum away from the tooth so that we get a more complete impression. When we're finished, we place a temporary inlay in your tooth, which you'll wear until your next appointment when we place the porcelain inlay.
During the next visit, we remove the temporary inlay and make sure that your new porcelain inlay fits properly. We check the fit and your bite, and when everything looks good, we cement or bond your new porcelain inlay in place.