There are times when fillings cannot reinforce a tooth enough, but a crown is not needed. In this situation, a Dental Onlay or Inlay is the best solution.
Dental inlays and onlays are indirect dental treatments, similar to porcelain veneers, and function to restore and reinforce a damaged tooth. Dr. Koch, of Advanced Dental Care, in Jasper, Texas, is apt to recommend inlays and onlays when the damage to your tooth is such that the tooth cannot support a filling, but it is not damaged enough to warrant a dental crown. An inlay, similar to a filling, fits into the inside the cusp tips of the tooth, whereas an onlay extends out over one or more of the cusps of the tooth.
The dental industry considers inlays and onlays indirect fillings because dental technicians produce them in a laboratory. Because of the manufacturing process of the inlays and onlays, you will require a second visit to our office to bond them to the surface of your tooth – a slight inconvenience. However, feel good about your decision to choose the inlays and onlays. In addition to repairing your decayed tooth, you also strengthen the structure of your tooth; in fact, once the inlays and onlays are in place, your chewing force increases by 50 – 75 percent.
One of the advantages of choosing inlays and onlays is you can choose the way your smile looks. Inlays and onlays can be made of porcelain, gold, or composite resin. In the past, many patients chose gold as the material of choice for their inlays and onlays; however, today, porcelain (similar to porcelain veneers) has become more and more popular because of its strength and color, allowing a better match to the natural color of your teeth.
As mentioned earlier, the inlays and overlays require manufacturing in a lab. Dr. Koch requires two office visits to complete the inlays and onlays procedure. At the first appointment, he removes your existing filling or the damaged or decayed area of your tooth; next, he prepares the tooth for the inlay or onlay. Dr. Koch or his hygienist makes an impression of your tooth to create a proper fit and bite. After the impression sets, Advanced Dental Care sends it to the lab for fabrication. Dr. Koch adds a temporary sealant to your tooth and has his staff schedule your next office visit.
At the second appointment, Dr. Koch removes the temporary sealant. He then places the inlays and onlays on your tooth, evaluating if the inlay or onlay fits properly. If the fit is satisfactory, he then bonds the inlay or onlay onto your tooth with a durable resin and polishes the inlay or onlay to an even finish.
Inlays and onlays bond directly onto your tooth using specially developed, high-strength resins. Inlays and onlays are a simple dental treatment that preserves the integrity of your tooth and whitens your smile. In addition, inlays and onlays actually increase the strength of your restored tooth; as a result, the useful life of your restored tooth or teeth ranges from 10 to 30 years. Now, that is worthy of your smile.