Inlays and Onlays
Inlays and onlays are methods that have been common since the old days, before fillings were introduced. Inlays are used to replace a lost part of a tooth, not extending over the cusps. Onlays are used to replace a missing piece of a tooth, but they extend to the chewing surface of the tooth, covering either one or both the cusps. Frank Dunlap, DDS can guide you through these options by explaining all the details about inlays and onlays.
What Are Inlays and Onlays?
An inlay is a pre-molded filling, fitted in the tooth, that does not extend over the cusps of the tooth. It can be used in the same manner as a filling, but it is a more durable one. It can also be used during a dental crown treatment. An onlay is used to repair a tooth that has acquired extensive damage, including damage to the cusps. The damage is first treated by placing a temporary onlay and then replacing it with a permanent one, restoring the normal vital function of the tooth. In the past, both inlays and onlays were made of gold, but as their demand increased they came to be made also in tooth-colored material, ceramic, or porcelain.
Why You May Need an Inlay or Onlay
You may need an inlay or an onlay to extend the life of a damaged, decayed, or fractured tooth. Inlays can also be used as a support when mounting a crown. They are said to be the safest option and a long-term solution to tooth damage. Both inlays and onlays allow the restorations to be bonded, which improves the strength of the tooth. The bonding helps the inlay or onlay stay in place.
During the placement procedure, after anesthetizing, decay in the tooth is cleaned out from any cavities and the tooth is pared and shaped. After cleaning and shaping, an impression of the tooth is taken and is sent to a dental lab. In the meantime, our professionals will fit in a temporary inlay or onlay as required. A week after the impression was sent out, the permanent inlay or onlay arrives, and the temporary one is replaced by our team of experts.
How Are Inlays and Onlays Beneficial?
Once placed, inlays and onlays help increase the biocompatibility and strength of a tooth. They also have a low wear and tear rate and eliminate the worry of having a large dental filling, which may weaken the surrounding structure of a tooth. They help restore the normal vital functions of a tooth that have been lost.
How to Care for Inlays and Onlays
Practicing a good oral care routine is very important, as any inconsistency in oral care can cause your inlays or onlays to loosen and increases the risk of developing an infection. Inlays and onlays are said to last up to thirty years, but their life span can decrease in emergency cases like accidents. A damaged inlay or onlay needs to be replaced quickly to prevent damage from extending to other teeth. Inlays and onlays are very beneficial to people affected by tooth decay or damage. For more information on inlays and onlays, feel free to contact our office, Frank Dunlap, DDS, at (346) 576-4411.