Dental Onlays and Inlays
Inlays and onlays are a wonderful option that help restore a tooth to its natural strength. Not only do they look natural and preserve a large amount of the natural tooth, but they also help mitigate further tooth decay by covering up bumpy surfaces or cracks.
Unlike fillings, which involve a decayed portion of a tooth being drilled out and filled with a composite resin, both inlays and onlays are single pieces of solid porcelain. When tooth decay is removed, there is a gap that is created. Inlays and onlays fill that gap.
Today, inlays are still used in the same situations, but the inlays can be made of a tooth-colored material such as ceramic/porcelain or special dental composite. This bonding process may actually improve the strength of the tooth and help seal the inlay to the tooth.
Onlays also fit inside the tooth, but extend onto the chewing surface of a back tooth to replace one or more cusps. In the past, onlays were made only of gold, but like inlays, more and more patients request a tooth-colored onlay. Making the onlay of ceramic/porcelain allows the restoration to be bonded to the tooth. This bonding process may actually improve the strength of the tooth and help seal the onlay to the tooth.
It is difficult to determine when inlays or onlays can be used instead of crowns or caps. Give us a call if you think you might benefit from an inlay or onlay or if you have more questions!
The team at Sweet Water Dentistry is eager to help. It is our goal to help you maintain your dental health and help you achieve the smile of your dreams. When you’re ready to schedule your appointment with Dr. Greer, you can either give us a call or use our online Contact form.