What are inlays and onlays in dentistry?

What are inlays and onlays in dentistry?

March 1, 2024

In restorative dentistry, inlays and onlays represent a middle ground between traditional fillings and crowns, offering a durable and aesthetic solution for repairing teeth. These treatments are ideal for teeth with moderate decay or damage, where a filling might be insufficient, but a full crown is unnecessary. Okemos Smile Center provides expert guidance and treatment for those exploring dental restoration options, including inlays and onlays near you or within the 48864 area. Let’s delve deeper into what inlays and onlays are, how they differ from other dental restoration methods, and when they might be the best option for your dental health.

How Do Inlays and Onlays Differ from Traditional Fillings?

Inlays and onlays are often termed as the indirect fillings, crafted in a dental lab before they are fitted and bonded to the damaged tooth. The critical difference between them and traditional fillings lies in their fabrication and application process. While fillings are directly molded into place within the cavity during a single visit, inlays and onlays are custom-made in a lab and then bonded to the tooth, a process that requires at least two visits.

Inlays are used when the damage is within the cusps, or rounded edges, of the tooth’s surface. Onlays, sometimes called “partial crowns,” extend over one or more of the cusps, covering more of the tooth’s surface. Both options provide a more robust, durable solution than traditional fillings, fitting seamlessly with the tooth’s natural structure.

What Materials Are Used to Make Dental Inlays and Onlays?

The materials commonly used for inlays and onlays include porcelain, composite resin, and sometimes gold. Porcelain and composite resin are favored for their amazing ability to match the natural color of teeth, making them a popular choice for those concerned about the aesthetic appearance of their restorations. Gold, while less common today due to its visibility, is still used for its durability and long-lasting qualities.

When Are Inlays or Onlays Recommended Over Crowns?

Inlays and onlays are most often recommended when a tooth’s structure is too damaged for a filling but still sufficient enough that it doesn’t require the full coverage of a crown. This middle-ground solution helps preserve more natural tooth structure, a key advantage for long-term dental health. They are particularly suited for treating the back teeth, where chewing forces are most significant, and preserving the tooth’s structure is crucial for durability.

What is the procedure for getting an inlay or overlay?

The procedure for getting an inlays or onlays typically involves two visits to the dentist. During the very first visit, the decayed or damaged tooth part is removed. After that, an impression of the tooth is taken, which is sent to a dental lab to fabricate the inlay or onlay. A temporary sealant is placed on the tooth until the next visit. Once the inlay or onlay is all prepared, the dentist will remove the temporary sealant, fit the inlay or onlay onto the tooth, and bond it into place, adjusting for fit and bite before polishing it to a smooth finish.

How Do Inlays and Onlays Contribute to Tooth Preservation?

Inlays and onlays play a significant role in tooth preservation by providing a conservative approach to dental restoration. Contrary to the crowns, which require the removal of a substantial portion of the tooth’s structure, inlays and onlays require less tooth removal, thereby maintaining more of the natural tooth. This helps retain the tooth’s strength and reduces the likelihood of future fractures and the need for more extensive dental work.

Consult with Your Dentist to Determine the Best Option for Your Dental Health

Choosing the proper dental restoration treatment depends on several factors, including to what extent the tooth is damaged and personal dental health goals. Consulting with a professional dentist in Okemos is crucial in determining whether inlays, onlays, fillings, or crowns are the best option. At Okemos Smile Center, our team is dedicated to providing personalized advice and treatment options, ensuring that patients receive the best dental care tailored to their dental health needs.

In conclusion, inlays and onlays offer a highly effective and conservative treatment option for repairing teeth with moderate decay or damage; by preserving more of the natural tooth structure and using materials that most closely match the appearance of natural teeth, inlays, and onlays restore function and maintain the aesthetic integrity of the smile. If you’re considering dental restoration options, a consultation with your dentist can help you take a smart decision that aligns with your dental health objectives.

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