Inlays and Onlays The Indirect Dental Filling Option
Often known as indirect fillings, inlays and onlays provide a restorative treatment for tooth decay that is safe and longer lasting. These restorative properties make inlays and onlays an esthetic and functional option to more invasive dental procedures. Inlays and onlays can be use to treat tooth decay, or related structural damage, rather than traditional amalgam fillings. While dental fillings are shaped inside of the mouth during a dental visit, inlays and onlays are fabricated indirectly in a dental lab before being fitted by a dentist and bonded to the damaged tooth. The main differences between an inlay and onlay is how the filling is placed. With inlays, the material is bonded within the center of a tooth within the cusp of a tooth. In contrast, onlays covers one or more of a tooth’s cusp. The procedure to place inlays and onlays are identical.
How an Onlay and Inlay Works
Getting an inlay or onlay done is like having a crown. The biggest difference between is that onlay and inlay requires less tooth structure to be removed. When a crown is placed, the tooth undergoes significant structural changes to reshape the tooth to fit the crown. The advantage of onlay and inlay preserves as much of a natural tooth structure as possible. Depending on the health of a tooth, onlay and inlay may be a better option than crowns that does a more conservative job in maintaining natural parts of your teeth.
To prepare a tooth for an inlay or onlay, the tooth and surrounding area is numb with local anesthetic, and then any tooth decay is removed carefully. The decay is removed to provide an undamaged tooth surface to set the inlay or onlay. This is done to prevent further decay and progression of decay deeper into the tooth. After preparing the tooth, an impression is made digitally or with dental putty. The mold is sent to a dental lab and the inlay or onlay is made to fit precisely on the tooth. Just like crowns, onlays or inlays can be made from dental materials such as ceramic, resin, or gold. Before leaving the clinic, a temporary filling will be used to keep the area sealed and clean before the inlay or onlay is read to be fitted. Once the inlay or onlay arrives at the dental office, you will come back for a final fitting. The inlay or onlay is cemented to the tooth. Your dentist will check all margins to ensure a smooth fit with tight adjacent contacts and ensure a proper bite fitting.
Inlays and onlays are durable and strong alternatives to crowns. Because the fit is tailored around the edges, cleaning the tooth can be easier because it is precisely fitted. Inlays and onlays is designed to preserve the majority of healthy tooth while restoring decayed or damaged areas of a tooth. If you have questions about inlays and onlays and how it can benefit you, call California Dental Group at (800) 407-0161 to schedule your next appointment.