Inlays and Overlays
Sometimes, a tooth suffers extensive damage that is untreatable with a simple filling, but not damaged enough for a full crown. The next best thing is restoration with an inlay or onlay.
Both of these dental procedures are considered indirect fillings. This means the inlay and onlay are fabricated outside the mouth at a dental laboratory. By contrast, a direct filling applied to the cavity, is typically applied in one dentist office visit.
An inlay is the indirect filling that fits within the cusps of a molar or premolar tooth. An inlay, on the other hand, covers one or more of the cusps. Regardless, the procedure involved with placing an inlay or onlay is the same.
Ideal candidates for this type of dental work are people who have tooth decay or too much damage to the structure of a tooth. This means that a filling will not be successful in treating the damage.
The tooth must be sufficiently healthy to get an inlay or onlay instead of a crown. By doing this, the dentist can preserve more of the original tooth structure.
Benefits to Inlays and Overlays
Compared to metal fillings, there are many benefits to inlays and onlays.
1. Both are made with durable materials that can last for up to 30 years.
2. Inlays and onlays help strengthen your teeth up to 75% more than traditional metal fillings. Typically, teeth are only strengthened up to 50% with metal fillings.
3. Both of these procedures prolong the life of the tooth while also preventing the need for future treatment.
4. Because of the tailored fit, onlays are easier to clean than a crown.
5. Dental onlays are less likely to change in color than a tooth-colored filling.
6. As it cures, the composite filling might shrink, unlike the onlays.
7. Inlays and onlays are strong and durable. Both have a superior fit and remain resilient. In large part, this is because dentists do not totally reshape the damaged tooth.
How to Prepare for an Inlay or Onlay Procedure
You are one very important part of your dental care team, so preparing for any type of procedure can help to improve the results. Steps that you can take before having an inlay or only procedure may help to improve the outcome and comfort that you experience.
Generally, no special preparation is needed but doing the following before these procedures can help to ensure the process goes smoothly.
• Give the dentist complete details of any medications you are taking. Not only should he know about prescribed drugs, but names of herbal treatments, vitamins and over-the-counter drugs should be provided. Also, provide information regarding your medical history.
• Inform the dentist of any known allergies.
• Let the dentist know if there is a possibility that you are pregnant.
How the Procedure Works
The procedure for getting inlays or onlays is very similar to having a crown placed on your tooth. Since these procedures are best for minimally damaged teeth, less of the natural tooth structure is removed by drilling.
For a crown, your tooth undergoes significant reshaping to ensure the material fits inside the new covering properly. The ultimate goal is to preserve as much of your natural tooth structure as possible. Inlays and onlays provide the best possibility for this to happen. A tooth is easily restored by using these conservative techniques.
By using local anesthesia, your dentist will numb the tooth and surrounding area before removing any decay. This is necessary to keep what is actually an infection from progressing further into your damaged tooth.
By using digital tools or putty-like material, an impression of the tooth is made after the tooth and surrounding area is prepared. The impression is sent to a dental laboratory to create a model of your tooth. Finally, restoration is made out of tooth-colored ceramic or resin material. Gold is also an option.
Since the new tooth is typically not ready in the same day, you will be given a temporary filling. This protects the area until the permanent restoration is ready to be applied. The permanent inlay or onlay is attached to your tooth during a second visit. The dentist might use a resin to harden the tooth or permanent cement.
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Inlays and onlays are very strong and will last a long time while requiring normal care just as you would with a regular tooth. As always, daily brushing and flossing, along with regular professional cleanings, will help to ensure your restoration lasts for many years to come.
If you need restoration of damaged teeth with inlays or onlays, contact our office today for the best in dental care. Boyton Laser Dental Center is here to serve your needs with advanced dental technology.