Inlays and onlays are frequently used as a substitute for the filling process in treating tooth decay and similar damage, including repairing the chewing surface/decay of the rear or back teeth, larger cavities where a conventional filling wouldn’t provide enough strength, or cracked/fractured teeth that aren’t damaged enough for a crown. An inlay is a restoration where material is bonded within the center of a tooth and is fitted inside the cusp tips (top edges), replacing a portion or half of the molar similar to a filling. An onlay is usually more extensive and the restoration extends to the chewing surface of one or more tooth cusps and/or the entire top of the molar similar to treating a cavity.
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Dental inlays and onlays are usually completed over the course of two scheduled appointments, with each treatment taking about an hour (the first being slightly longer due to the preparation process). They can be molded from either gold, porcelain, or composite resin materials, all with various benefits in appearance. Gold is the most visible, porcelain is the most seamless, aesthetically blending with natural teeth, and resin is best for teeth grinders and/or those with a misaligned bite (malocclusion).
During the first appointment, the dentist will prepare the teeth for the inlay or onlay by numbing the needed mouth area with local anesthetic and removing any damage or decay by drilling, which will clean and prepare it for the treatment. The dentist then will take a mold (impression) of the tooth by inserting a small tray filled with dental putty over the teeth. This impression is sent to the dental laboratory where the inlay or onlay will be created to fit your tooth exactly. In the meantime, the dentist will create a temporary restoration for your tooth that will help protect it in between visits.
During the second appointment, the temporary restoration is removed and the dentist will place the inlay or onlay onto the needed area, checking to make sure the fitting is correct, the margins are smooth and tight, and there are no related problems affecting the teeth’s bite. Once secure, the dentist bonds the restoration to the tooth using a strong resin adhesive and polishes the margins for a smooth, aesthetically pleasing finish.
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Durability for up to 30 years, 75% chance for stronger teeth, superior fit with fewer sizing issues, easy cleaning, less discoloration, protection from harmful bacteria, and resistance towards further damage… these are just a few benefits experienced with patients who have inlays and onlays.
If you’re ready to lengthen the life of your teeth while preventing spending valuable time and money for additional treatments, schedule a consultation at Cirocco Dental Center today and let us find a better way to brighten up your smile!
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