Inlays & Onlays
Restore the function and appearance of your tooth with an inlay or onlay at Thomas Family Dentistry. With so many restorative procedures available, you can be forgiven for not knowing which is best for your particular circumstances - which is where we can help you come to the right decision.
What Are Inlays and Onlays?
Inlays are used to repair the function, appearance, and shape of your natural tooth. They are used to fill large cavities, particularly in the back teeth, where a conventional filling would not be deemed strong enough.
Onlays are typically larger than inlays and are used to cover the chewing surface of the tooth, including one or more of the raised points on the tooth (cusps).
Why Choose Inlays or Onlays Over Other Restorative Dentistry Procedures?
Inlays or onlays remove less of the tooth’s natural structure than crowns. They are typically stronger than fillings, and are ideal for reconstructing your tooth’s shape and producing a biting shape that looks more natural.
Our dentists will advise what restorative dentistry procedure is most suitable for your requirements.
What Are Inlays and Onlays Made From?
Several different, hard-wearing materials are suitable for inlays and onlays. Gold is one of the oldest materials used in these procedures, thanks to its durability and strength. However, it does not blend in with natural teeth, which is important for many patients who want a good cosmetic result.
A material that does match the color of existing teeth is composite resin, which is also one of the least expensive options. But, it is not as tough as porcelain, which is another material that can be color-matched to teeth to provide a cosmetically pleasing effect.
What Is the Process for Fitting Inlays and Onlays?
The process begins with an assessment by one of our dentists. We will need to determine the location and extent of decay, or fissure, in the tooth to make a decision on what option is best for you.
Once we have established the best course of action, any decay or old fillings are removed. Unless the process is being carried out with CAD/CAM (computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacture) - where the whole procedure is completed in one appointment - we will take impressions of your mouth. These are used to create a model to send to a laboratory where your inlay or onlay is custom made to fit.
You will need to schedule another appointment to return to our office where the dentist will permanently affix your inlay or onlay. In the meantime, a temporary filling will be placed in the cavity, which is removed when you return for the inlay/onlay fitting.
How Long Do Inlays and Onlays Last?
Inlays and onlays are very long-lasting and can potentially last for decades. This is dependent upon several variables, such as the material used, the location of the tooth, how much force is exerted on the tooth from biting and chewing, and how thorough the patient’s oral hygiene regime is.
Inlays and onlays are a great option for damaged teeth if you want to preserve as much of your tooth as you can. They are hard-wearing, long-lasting, and don’t shrink, as some traditional fillings do with time. Schedule an appointment with our team at Thomas Family Dentistry by calling us on 971-348-4244.