What are Inlays and Onlays?
Inlay and onlay restorations are types of dental treatments used to repair rear teeth with mild to moderate decay or fractured teeth that are not damaged severely enough to require a crown. An inlay is placed within the cusps of the tooth, while an onlay covers one or more cusps or the entire biting surface of the tooth. These restorations are custom-made and can be composed of various materials such as porcelain, composite resin, or gold.
When are They Used?
Inlays and onlays are ideal options when old fillings need to be removed or replaced. They are also used when a tooth has too much damage for a simple filling but isn’t quite severe enough for a full crown. This makes them a conservative alternative to crowns as they preserve as much of your natural tooth as possible.
The process of getting an inlay or onlay typically requires two dental visits.
During the first visit:
Preparation: The dentist removes the decay or old filling and shapes the tooth for the restoration.
Impression: An impression of the tooth is taken and sent to a dental lab where the inlay or onlay is made.
Temporary Seal: A temporary sealant is applied to protect the tooth while the custom inlay or onlay is being created.
On the second visit:
Fitting: The temporary sealant is removed, and the inlay or onlay is checked for fit and color.
Bonding: Once the fit is confirmed, it is bonded to the tooth and polished for a smooth finish.
Inlay and onlay restorations offer several advantages:
Durability: They are durable and can last longer than regular fillings.
Aesthetics: Made to match the natural color of your teeth, they provide a more natural appearance.
Tooth Structure Preservation: They require less tooth removal than crowns, preserving more of your natural tooth.
Care and Maintenance
Caring for inlays and onlays is similar to caring for natural teeth. Regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups are essential to maintain them.
FAQs on Inlay and Onlay Restorations
Q: Are inlays and onlays noticeable?
A: They are made to match your tooth color, making them virtually unnoticeable.
Q: How long do they last?
A: With proper care, they can last for decades, but this can vary based on material, the health of the tooth, and oral hygiene practices.
Q: Is the procedure painful?
A: The procedure involves minimal discomfort, as it is performed under local anesthesia.