Dental Inlays and Onlays

Dental Inlays and Onlays

The field of medicine has seen incredible advancements thanks to technology. In dentistry, correcting different dental emergencies is easier than ever. There are several solutions to different dental issues. Visiting a dentist in Fountain Valley will always be a worthwhile experience for all patients.

When it comes to dental restorations, inlays and onlays are not a new concept. When patients visit Dr. Azi with mild to moderate tooth decays, inlays or onlays will be prescribed. Both are useful to perform restorations on an affected tooth to make it look natural. They are an alternative solution to using dental crowns. Their use is preferred for mild tooth problems.

What is the difference between inlays and onlays?

Inlays are used in place of dental fillings. Their role is to replace a small portion of tooth enamel that has been lost to decay to cracking. An inlay is usually placed at the center of the damaged tooth to offer support and strength to the tooth. Inlays fit inside the cusp tips of the target tooth. They are made of ceramic/porcelain, which gives them a natural-looking appeal. For this reason, inlays are mostly used to address tooth issues of the front teeth.

On the other hand, onlays are used in the inside of a tooth, but also extend to the chewing surface of the damaged tooth. They are commonly used on the back teeth. In the past, most onlays were made of gold material, which made them visible. However, today, there are onlays made of ceramic/porcelain, to give them a natural tooth color.

What is the difference between dental crowns and inlays and onlays?

As mentioned above, inlays and onlays serve a very similar purpose. Both are used to cap a tooth to increase its longevity and effectiveness. However, unlike with dental crowns, inlays and onlays do not require the removal of the entire enamel of the affected tooth. A dental crown can only installed in the absence of enamel. This means that a dentist will have to take out the enamel of the natural tooth to replace it with a dental crown. Inlays and onlays work in conjunction with the enamel of the tooth. The replacement is only necessary for the damaged part of the enamel.

How are inlays and onlays installed?

Once your dentist determines you are fit for inlays or onlays, the procedure begins. You may be put under local anesthesia to numb your mouth during the process. A small hole is drilled in the area of tooth decay. This will allow the dentist to clean out the decay from the tooth. You will only lose a small percentage of your tooth’s enamel during the process.

In the lab, inlays or onlays are made to fit the impression on your damaged tooth. As the inlays or onlays are created in the lab, the dentist will put a temporary filling to cover the drilled area. This happens on the first visit. The second visit is when the inlays or onlays are installed. The temporary filling is removed to make way for the dental inlays or onlays. The treatment uses a strong resin adhesive to bond the onlay or inlay to the tooth.

The final step involves polishing the surface of the treated tooth. This will give it a fine finish. It might be hard to tell the difference between your natural tooth and the filled tooth. However, some onlays and inlays are made from resin or gold materials, these will make them visible.

What are the benefits of onlays and inlays?

As captured above, onlays and inlays are similar in function to dental fillings and crowns. Their benefits include:

  • They strengthen teeth – the damaged tooth will be strengthened by up to 75%. This improves its functionality in daily eating and chewing activities.
  • They are durable – the durability of inlays and onlays is more than of dental fillings. With proper care, the materials used to make onlays and inlays can last you up to 30 years.
  • They prevent further tooth damages – since the decayed portion of the tooth is removed, onlays and inlays seal the tooth from further damage. They also narrow down your need for dental treatment in the future.
  • They are natural-looking – if you decide to go for onlays or inlays made of porcelain, then they will blend perfectly with your natural teeth.

Now that you know how much transformation onlays and inlays can bring into your life, call your dentist and schedule a visit today!