Dental inlays and onlays are restorations used to repair rear teeth that have mild to moderate tooth decay. Inlays and onlays are also used to restore teeth that are fractured or cracked if the damage to them is not severe enough to warrant a dental crown. Inlays and onlays are usually made from porcelain, composite resin and sometimes gold. Inlays and onlays are often used to replace metal fillings for those who desire a more natural-looking smile.
Inlays are used to treat teeth that have decay or damage on their top surfaces. Inlay placement is usually done over the space of two visits to your cosmetic dentist. During the first visit, an impression of your tooth will be taken, and a temporary inlay will be placed on the tooth. The impression will be sent to a dental lab where your inlay will be matched to your tooth’s specifications. When you return to the dentist, your temporary will be removed and the permanent one will be placed over your tooth.
Onlays are used to treat decay that extends to one or more of the cusps (top projections of the tooth). Onlays are placed in much the same manner as inlays with an impression being taken first and a temporary onlay being placed over the tooth. The impression is sent to a lab, where a dental technician creates the onlay according to the tooth’s dimensions. One the next visit to the dentist, the temporary is removed and the permanent restoration is placed on the tooth and bonded securely using high-strength dental resins.
Onlays, like inlays, can be created from tooth-colored material, which makes them virtually undetectable to the naked eye. Onlays conserve more tooth structure because their use requires minimal removal of a tooth’s surface. Onlays also help patients avoid the eventual need for more extensive treatment with crowns, bridges, or dental implants.
Since inlays and onlays are made from durable, tooth-colored porcelain typically, they offer much more enduring and natural-looking results than the metal fillings used in the past. Dentists can securely bond them to the tooth’s surface, which adds structural integrity and prevents bacteria from entering and forming cavities.
Additional advantages are:
· Inlays and onlays, unlike metal fillings, will not expand or contract in response to temperature changes caused by hot/cold foods.
· Inlays and onlays can replace metal fillings creating a healthier more natural-looking smile.
· Inlays and onlays are virtually invisible due to being made from tooth-colored material.
· Inlays and onlays help strengthen the teeth up to 75%.
Source by Lynn Fugaro