Another service we offer in-office is dental inlays and onlays. Inlays and onlays are very similar to fillings, but are meant to replace damaged teeth on a larger scale. Initially, inlays and onlays were made of gold, but the desire for a solution that closely matched the natural look of teeth means that there are more options today. These options include gold, porcelain, and resin.
Inlays are used in a similar way that fillings are – that is, to restore or repair the structure of a tooth. However, inlays are used to combat tooth decay and breakage on a larger scale, where fillings wouldn’t usually be enough.
The procedure for having inlays applied is similar to that of a filling. You would come into our office for your prescheduled appointment, our staff would inject the area with anaesthetic to numb the tooth, the tooth would be cleaned and prepared for the inlay, and an impression of the tooth will be made. The impression will then be used to craft a custom-fit inlay. During a second appointment, the custom-fit inlay will later be bonded to your teeth utilizing a tool that produces a bright blue light. The light softens the material so that it can form to your teeth and then harden, perfecting the fit. We will, of course, check to see that the fit works for you by examining your bite and discussing it with you. In between the appointments, a crown will be applied to avoid exposure and further decay.
Onlays can be used when you have a cavity that is too large for a filling, but you aren’t looking to get a crown. They are molded to fit large areas where the tooth has decayed or broken down, usually covering a tooth’s biting surface and filling in the area.
The procedure for receiving an onlay is, again, similar to both a filling and an inlay. It typically requires two appointments. During the first visit, one of our staff will inject the area with an anesthetic to numb the tooth and drill out the diseased area. Once the tooth is prepared, we will take an impression and an onlay will be fabricated outside of the office. A temporary filling will likely be placed on the area to prevent decay from occurring between appointments. The second appointment is when we bond the onlay to your teeth and check that you still retain a correct and healthy bite. Between the appointments for both an inlay and onlay, it’s important to continue to practice good at-home oral health care. To keep your gums and teeth healthy while avoiding agitation, we encourage you to use a soft-bristled brush.
Benefits of Inlays and Onlays
When we use inlays and onlays to restore your teeth, we do not remove much of the tooth’s natural structure to do so. For instance, in order to fit a crown on your teeth, it is necessary to file away or remove more than just the decayed areas of the tooth in order to make the fit work. The more natural structure that remains of a tooth, the stronger it will be. Inlays and onlays are also made out of durable materials to provide long-lasting strength to your damaged teeth.
If there are any concerns or questions you have about the possibility of inlays and onlays, their benefits and risks, or anything else, we encourage you to contact our office today!