Ceramic Inlay in Dentistry

A ceramic inlay is a dental filling made of ceramic and produced in a dental lab.

Amalgamfüllungen und Keramikinlays zum Vergleich


They are generally used to treat the consequences of dental caries.



First, the old fillings are removed; cooling with water prevents the tooth from overheating. The removal of the fillings and the cutting itself are performed under magnification, in this case, with medical magnifying glasses, because the dentist wants to remove as little healthy tooth substance as possible.

The dark discolorations underneath the fillings are partly the result of previous amalgam fillings and partly the result of caries. Thus, tooth discolorations don’t always have to be removed, so long as these discolorations don’t aren’t caries. After removing the old fillings, the caries detector is applied and rinsed off. This process verifies if all carious dental material has been fully removed.

Then the final cut takes place. Lastly, the edges are broken with a novaculite – more on that in the video by the same title.
Prior to taking the impression, a sealant is applied. After a specific contact time is achieved, it is rinsed off and the impression is taken for the technician. The impression is also examined with magnifying glasses; the tooth and preparation margins must be clearly visible – more on that in the video Dental Impression.

Normaly after one week the ceramic inlays are glued into the patient’s mouth. In the video "ceramic inlay" you see the two teeth, both of which have been provided with temporary dentures. The teeth are protected against saliva, the tongue, and consequently, against moisture, with a cofferdam, because the ceramic glue is extremely sensitive to moisture during the hardening process.

Ceramic inlays must be glued – the technical term is called “bonding” – more on that in the video Bonding and Searing.

The temporary dentures are removed and the ceramic inlays are fitted. Again, a precise fit is verified with medical magnifying glasses. Now the tooth core is cleaned with special polishing compounds. After the tooth cores have been dried, the blue searing gel is applied. The gel is initially only applied on the enamel areas – you will find details under the key word “searing”.

After a certain time period has elapsed, the searing gel is also applied to the dentin and it is then thoroughly rinsed off with water after a short time. Now the tooth is treated with numerous chemicals. After a specific contact time, the tooth is intermittently dried with air. Here, precise workmanship is particularly important; contact times are specified by the manufacturer and should be strictly observed. This is why a precise dentist uses a stop watch.

Finally, the bonding compound is applied; two-phase glue is ideally used. The two phases should be mixed prior to the bonding process and should start to harden by themselves. The lamp only accelerates the hardening process after the two parts have been mixed and have begun hardening on their own.

Although the use of two-phase glue is more cumbersome, it has the added advantage that the glue continues to harden after the lamp has been turned off, if it hasn’t already completely hardened during the lamp application phase. With glues that only harden when a lamp is used, there is always the danger that certain areas won’t harden completely – glue that doesn’t harden completely is poisonous to the tooth: Toothaches and/or subsequent root canal treatments are possible consequences.

Only now is the ceramic inlay placed. A short pre-hardening process is initiated with the lamp, after which all the remaining materials are immediately removed.

Finally, a glycerin gel is applied so that the glue can harden thoroughly, even at the edges, as this is only possible when there is no oxygen present – more on that in the video

Luftversiegelung bei Keramikinlay setzen







After hardening, the teeth are polished. Smooth surfaces don’t allow bacteria that cause caries many opportunities to develop.
In the best case, even the dentist won’t be able to recognize the glue joint. Ceramic inlays offer a unique option for teeth restoration, provided the elaborate gluing guidelines are followed.

Alternatives to inlays include well-known filling materials such as amalgam, cements, glass ionomer cements, etc. However, these materials don’t last as long and must be replaced every couple of years. This process always results in the loss of healthy tooth substance. After a number of years, a root canal treatment will be necessary.

This is why one should use high quality materials in young people and encourage improved brushing techniques. Although high-quality fillings are initially associated with higher costs, you will save money, suffering, and time in the end.

The risks of ceramic inlay glueing are negligible when performed by an experienced dentist; nevertheless, complications may occur in individual cases, possibly requiring additional measures. Each additional measure may in turn lead to complications which may eventually lead to tooth loss.

At this point, we will only discuss the specific complications that may be encountered when employing the inlay cut. These are, for example:

Injury to surrounding structures such as the tongue, cheeks, nerves, blood vessels, neighboring teeth and neighboring roots with the respective consequences:

  • A dental nerve damage, which would lead to a root canal treatment
  • A leaking inlay resulting in secondary caries

In principle, all dental work is associated with the risk of a dental nerve damage, this is why you should fill your teeth with materials that will remain tight with proper care!

Click here to see the video: Ceramic Inlay


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