Treating cavities and tooth decay are some of the most common procedures in a dental office. Thankfully, with today’s cosmetic and restorative dentistry options, it’s easy to maintain and improve your beautiful smile while correcting these issues. When traditional dental fillings aren’t the best choice for treating cavities, you may have the option of using inlays and onlays to protect and restore your smile.
Inlays and onlays explained
Inlays and onlays are a type of dental restoration that works to rebuild lost or compromised tooth structure that’s occurred due to injury, erosion and/or decay. The best composition of inlays and onlays for you depends on the teeth that require restoration, but they usually consist of tooth-colored porcelain or composite resin materials. They can treat new cavities, replace metal fillings, and repair teeth with damage that’s mild or moderate. Inlays and onlays perform the same function as traditional dental fillings but they can accomplish a much greater restoration for teeth with a substantial amount of decay. Inlays and onlays can help rebuild tooth structure including a tooth’s biting surface or cusp. The application of inlays is for when decay occurs only within the cusps of the teeth, while onlays (also referred to as partial crowns) treat extensive damage beyond one cusp.
Benefits of inlays and onlays
If you’re suffering from major tooth damage or tooth decay that a traditional filling can’t fix, but that doesn’t require a dental crown, you may be a good candidate for inlays and onlays. The benefits of inlays and onlays are aesthetic and functional as they improve appearance and restore strength to damaged teeth. Other benefits include:
- Preserves tooth – Inlays and onlays require less removal of the natural tooth because they bond directly to the tooth.
- Strength and structure – When bonded to the teeth, inlays, and onlays restore the dental structure and strength of the tooth.
- Durability – Due to the materials of inlays and onlays, they’re durable and may last over 10 years with proper care.
- Appearance – Custom made to match the appearance of surrounding teeth, inlays and onlays restore appearance as they repair the damage.
- No discoloration – Unlike silver amalgam fillings that can discolor teeth to grayish, tooth-colored inlays and onlays keep their white color.
Placing inlays and onlays
The procedure for placing inlays and onlays resembles that of placing a dental filling in that the dentist administers a local anesthetic to the affected area to prevent discomfort and remove decaying tooth structure to leave behind whatever healthy tooth structure remains. After prepping the tooth, the dentist makes an impression of the tooth to use for creation of the custom made final inlay or onlay. The impression goes off to a lab to create an inlay or onlay the proper color for the restoration and in the interim, a temporary inlay or onlay receives placement over the prepped tooth. When the restoration returns from the lab, you return to the office for the application of the final inlay or onlay.
Maintaining inlays and onlays
Proper dental oral hygiene practices help maintain the appearance and health of inlays and onlays. Treat them like your other teeth by brushing twice a day, flossing at least once a day, visiting your dentist regularly and avoiding the use of tobacco products.
Restoring the appearance of your teeth enables you to smile with confidence and inlays and onlays are a good option for treating dental damage or replacing old metal fillings. Discuss the feasibility of inlays and onlays to correct your dental issues by contacting Chianese Dental today.