Restore Your Teeth with Inlays and Onlays
It’s easy to put your dental health on the back burner while you prioritize other things. Life happens, and sometimes a cavity or an accident can damage your teeth despite regular care.
Luckily, your dentist has several tools to address the discomfort, pain, and esthetic effects of decay. Both inlays and onlays are similar to a filling but are more durable. They not only help restore structural integrity to your teeth but can also make your smile look more pleasing and attractive.
What Are Inlays and Onlays?
Inlays and onlays are used to restore damaged teeth and consist of either porcelain, gold, or composite resin. They essentially act as reinforcements to provide a solid structure to the interior of a tooth left empty by way of decay, fracture, and /or external damage.
The difference between an inlay and an onlay has to do with the shape and overall structure of the restoration. An inlay rests in the interior of a tooth to fill a void, whereas an onlay stretches over the outside of the tooth like an umbrella. Which one you need depends on the extent and the nature of the damage to your tooth.
Advantages of Inlays and Onlays Over Other Procedures
Inlays and onlays can increase tooth durability by up to 75% and last years with proper care. Additionally, onlays also establish a new chewing surface to shield the vulnerable interior of a tooth from fracture.
While traditional inlays and onlays have commonly contained gold or metal, porcelain inlays and onlays recently gained popularity for their appearance and strength. Porcelain inlays and onlays offer an attractive solution for restoring teeth as long as there is enough remaining healthy and solid tooth structure.
How Are Inlays and Onlays Applied?
Your dentist will fabricate your inlay or onlay in two appointments. During the first appointment, your dentist will assess the extent of damage and decay, as well as clean and shape the tooth for the next step. At this point, your dentist will digitally scan the tooth or create a mold from an impression of your tooth to ensure the custom-made inlay or onlay fits perfectly. Until the inlay or onlay is fabricated, your dentist will apply a temporary inlay or onlay to protect your tooth.
Your second appointment will take place after your inlay or onlay is received from the lab. Your dentist will ensure the restoration fits perfectly and then bond the inlay or onlay to your tooth with resin cement- leaving your tooth stronger and more beautiful than before.