Inlays & Onlays
Our dentists will always try and preserve as much of the patient's natural tooth as possible when performing a restorative procedure. This is why we will always choose the surgery that suits the extent of damage that has impacted the patient's tooth. Inlays and onlays are a form of restoration that are used on tooth damage that is too severe for a filling, but when preparation for a crown would remove too much of the natural enamel. Inlays and onlays are used by Summit Dental Care to restore a tooth back to its former strength.
How Is an Inlay/Onlay Placed?
Our dentist will assess the damage to the patient's tooth via visual examination and an x-ray. This will help confirm that an inlay or onlay would be the appropriate restorative procedure. Damage to the tooth could be due to tooth decay, a chip or fracture. The biggest difference between an inlay/onlay and a filling is that inlays/onlays are custom-fit and are made in a dental lab. This means that when the damaged parts of the enamel are removed, the dentist will need to take measurements of the tooth and send them to the dental lab.
At the dental lab, the dental technicians will create a custom-fit ceramic inlay/onlay for the patient's tooth. A temporary inlay/only will be fitted until the custom-made inlay/only is ready. The ceramic allows the inlay/onlay to blend seamlessly with the natural tooth and make the restoration indistinguishable from the rest of the oral cavity. When the custom-fit inlay/onlay is ready - which should take about 2 weeks - the temporary inlay/onlay will be removed, and the custom-fit one will be placed.
What Are Inlays & Onlays?
Inlays and onlays work slightly differently but primarily fill the same function. They both restore tooth damage that is deeper and larger than tooth damage that a filling can resolve. A crown replaces the entire top portion of a tooth, whereas an inlay/onlay only replaces some of it. An inlay is used when the damage is situated on the biting surface of a tooth, but not on the cusps.
A tooth cusp is the rising tips of a tooth. An onlay is used when the damage affects one or more of the tooth's cusps, and therefore deals with larger damage than an inlay would. An inlay is similar to a filling, but an inlay is used for more extensive damage. Inlays and onlays are used mainly on molars, where there are multiple tooth cusps, meaning it can support the restorative procedure. Inlays and onlays are made of ceramic, which means the color of the material can be matched to the natural color of the patient's teeth, allowing it to blend seamlessly. Ceramic even gives off a gleam, like a natural tooth would do.
Summit Dental Care uses inlays and onlays to preserve as much of your natural enamel as possible. This restorative procedure is effective in strengthening the oral cavity, restoring the aesthetic quality of your tooth, and preventing the spread of tooth decay. To book your consultation appointment now, call our office at 206-292-9980.