Inlays & Onlays
Inlays and onlays are a more durable alternative for restoring teeth than other common fillings, such as composite resin fillings. They are a mold of porcelain perfectly fitted to your tooth and are used in tooth repair after procedures that damage the integrity of your teeth, such as cavity removal and root canal treatments. Due to the increased durability granted by the porcelain, inlays and onlays are most commonly used on the back molars, as that is where most chewing happens. To find out more, come in and see us here at Salem Dental Arts today.
What They Are
Both inlays and onlays are a type of “indirect” fillings, because we create them outside of your mouth and then attach it to your tooth. They are used when the damage your tooth has suffered is too extensive to be treated with a regular filling, but isn’t at the point where it would require a full crown. The procedure is very similar to getting a crown replaced, but less extensive; less of your actual tooth needs to be removed for the inlay or onlay to be fitted in or on. Since we want to preserve as much of your natural tooth as possible, we may recommend inlays or onlays as a more conservative treatment, when possible. Inlays are very similar to regular fillings, fitting into the depressions in your teeth. It’s placed in the ride between the “cusps,” or points, of your tooth. Onlays rebuild more of the structure by fitting over the edge of the tooth, recreating those cusps. These procedures are especially beneficial for patients who clench or grind their teeth, because of conditions such as TMJ disorder or otherwise, as these weaken the tooth structure with constant pressure. That weakened structure is why we prefer inlays and onlays for cases like these; porcelain is a much stronger material than general composite resin fillings, which may not be able to hold under the pressure.
What We Do
It will take two appointments to complete this procedure. At the first visit at our office, we will treat the tooth and surrounding area with a local anesthetic to remove the damage or decay to prevent the infection from traveling deeper into your tooth. We will also prepare the tooth for the inlay or onlay, so that optimal attachment can be achieved. Then we will take a mold of your tooth to ensure we make the restoration match your bite and facial structure perfectly. To protect your tooth from further damage and infection between the appointments, a temporary sealant will be used to fill the area. It will be removed at the second appointment and replaced with that durable porcelain inlay or onlay. Finally, it will be bonded to your tooth with a strong resin or cement, and polished after we finish adjustments to make the fit as perfect as possible.
Though inlays and onlays don’t require any kind of greater care than your natural teeth, please remember that, like all tooth care, regular checkups and cleanings are a good idea to increase the lifespan of your inlay or onlay. It is recommended by the American Dental Association that checkups be scheduled every six months to maintain your best oral health. With regular checkups and proper dental care, your inlay or onlay will last many years. To find out more, give Salem Dental Arts a call today, at (978) 741-1640 and let us know what questions you have.