When and Why To Use Dental Inlays and Onlays

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when and why to use dental inlays and onlays

Dental inlays and onlays in Sherwood Park are the solution for tooth repair issues that fall within a narrow but important niche. Inlays and onlays are an appropriate solution for a tooth that is too damaged for a filling, but not so weak as to require a crown. Maybe it’s because inlays and onlays play this important role between fillings and crowns that they’re sometimes referred to as an indirect filling or partial crown.

If you have a moderately damaged tooth, inlays and onlays made from porcelain, composite materials, or even gold will preserve the healthy components of your damaged tooth while also adding the strength and stability required to ensure normal dental function. They are generally a less expensive and more conservative option for protecting and strengthening a weakened or damaged tooth than a full crown.

What’s the difference between inlays and onlays?

The difference between inlays and onlays boils down to where the restoration is located on a tooth. Inlays are used in the centre of a damaged tooth. On the other hand, onlays are placed on the edges or points of a tooth.  

Both inlays and onlays are available in three different materials: resin composites, metal, and porcelain. Composite resin inlays and onlays made from glass-like and acrylic materials  can be coloured to match your teeth’s natural hue. Onlays and inlays are also made from metal, including gold. Metal inlays are most commonly used in molars because of their particular strength and because, in those locations, the metal will be less visible or entirely invisible to outside observers. Porcelain is also a very common material for making dental inlays and onlays near you because it can so specifically match the colour of your teeth.

When inlays and onlays are used

Family dentists, pediatric dentists, and prosthodontists all use dental inlays and onlays in Sherwood Park in two primary situations.

Some cracks and chips in your teeth are too large to be repaired with a filling, but are not serious enough to warrant a more extensive and expensive procedure or restoration such as a crown.

Cavities caused by bacteria and tooth decay can, when minor, be repaired using fillings. A more extensive cavity that still does not substantially undermine the integrity of the tooth may require an inlay or onlay to repair. If so much tooth structure is lost that none of a filling, inlay, or onlay will be effective, your dentist in Sherwood Park will recommend a crown, instead.

The steps to receiving an inlay or onlay

You will receive a local anesthetic in the gums near the tooth to be treated so that you’ll feel no pain during the procedure.

The dentist in Sherwood Park removes the damaged portions of your tooth using a dental drill before filing down some of the remaining surfaces to ensure that the materials that comprise the inlay or onlay will adhere effectively to your remaining tooth.

Once the tooth being treated is prepared, your dentist will make impressions of your tooth to create a custom inlay or onlay that will fit precisely into the prepared location. In some cases, your dentist may be able to create the custom inlay or onlay in their office while you wait. Alternatively, the impressions will be sent to an external laboratory where technicians will prepare the inlay or onlay. If an external lab is preparing your inlay or onlay, your dentist will provide you with a temporary one until the permanent one is ready to be placed.

Once the inlay or onlay is placed in position, it will be permanently cemented to your tooth before being made smooth and polished to rest securely and discreetly in place.

Your dentist in Sherwood Park has options for solving flaws and damage to your teeth, no matter how caused, where located, and how extensive. If you have a damaged tooth but have been unsure how to have it repaired, contact a dentist in Sherwood Park and ask if inlays or onlays may be appropriate for you.