Sometimes, as a more conservative alternative to full coverage dental crowns, your dentist may want to use an inlay or onlay instead of a reparative solution to tooth decay or other damage.
Also called indirect fillings, inlays and onlays offer a well-fitting, stronger, longer lasting option. Inlays and onlays can often be used in place of traditional dental fillings and are beneficial from both an esthetic and functional point of view.
Whereas dental fillings are molded into place within the mouth during a dental visit, inlays and onlays are fabricated indirectly in a dental lab prior to being fitted and bonded to the damaged tooth by your dentist.
The term inlay is used when the restoration material is bonded within the center of a tooth. Conversely, an onlay is when the restoration requires inclusion of one or more cusps (points) of the posterior tooth or full coverage of the biting surface.
This conservative approach to tooth repair preserves as much of the healthy tooth as possible. Inlays and onlays are a wise choice if you have minimal to moderate tooth decay that extends into a flossing area, offering an excellent alternative to full coverage crowns. Another advantage is that prefabricated porcelain or gold inlays/onlays will not shrink. Tooth cleaning is easier because the fit is tailored at all edges of the tooth.
For the treatment of tooth decay, they are extremely stable restorative solutions. The durable material and superior fit make them a good choice that can actually strengthen a damaged tooth. An onlay can protect the weak areas of the tooth, and it does not require the complete reshaping of the tooth.
Most times, an inlay or onlay procedure is completed in two dental visits. Your dentist will guide you and help determine what type of inlay or onlay is better for you.
Todd McAdams, D.D.S.
420 Rocky Knob Lane
Fayetteville, TN 37334