Inlays and Onlays
When the damage to a tooth is too significant for a filling, and a crown would get rid of too much of the healthy tooth’s enamel, inlays and onlays can be used as a restoration. Like large fillings, inlays and onlays are used when large parts of the biting surface of the tooth have to be removed due to damage in order to maintain the strength of the tooth. My Dentist Friend uses both inlays and onlays as an effective treatment to strengthen a patient’s oral cavity and allow our patients to retain as much of their natural tooth as possible.
What Is the Difference Between Inlays and Onlays?
The difference between inlays and onlays is determined by where the damage is located. Onlays are generally used when the damage is more significant and one or more of the tooth’s cusps have been affected. The cusps of a tooth are the rising points, which are numbered at four on molars. Inlays are used when the damage is less significant and does not affect the cusps. Inlays and onlays are both often made from porcelain or resin, which makes them indistinguishable from the rest of the tooth. This invisibility, combined with their strength, makes them more desirable when compared to the traditional filling. Our oral surgeons will advise our patients on the best restorative procedure for them and what their possible options are.
How Are Inlays And Onlays Placed?
The placing of an inlay or onlay happens over two appointments. At the first appointment, our oral surgeon will remove the decayed parts of the enamel and thoroughly clean the tooth to avoid the collection of bacteria. This process will take longer for an onlay, but the process takes roughly an hour. During the appointment, the oral surgeon will take measurements and send them to a dental lab. There, the dental lab will make a custom-fit inlay or onlay. A temporary inlay or onlay will be placed in the meantime. There will be aftercare instructions that need to be followed diligently to avoid any complications.
The second appointment will be scheduled for when the custom-fit inlay or onlay is ready. The temporary inlay or onlay will be removed, and the custom-fit one will be placed and secured. This should also take about an hour. Some sensitivity will be felt for several days afterwards. Our oral surgeon will provide aftercare instructions. Inlays and onlays do not require any special care and can be cleaned in the same way as a normal tooth. They can last over 25 years and are meant to be a permanent tooth restoration. With proper maintenance, the patient may not need to have them replaced.
My Dentist Friend offers inlays and onlays as a way to restore a tooth back to its original strength while taking away as little of the healthy enamel as possible. Every inlay or onlay is unique to each patient. Talk to one of our oral surgeons to see if an inlay or onlay could be used for your next restoration. Contact our office at 856-484-4114 to book your consultation appointment.