Inlays and Onlays
While you may well have had a standard filling at some point in your life, did you know that isn’t the only option? Fillings are a great way to repair small to medium-sized cavities, but if the hole that needs repairing is larger, you may need some extra support. Similarly to traditional fillings, inlays and onlays fill the space left once decay has been removed from your teeth. However, unlike normal fillings, they can be used to fill large cavities in the biting surfaces of your back teeth or the cusps of your teeth. As natural-looking, durable restorations, inlays and onlays are the perfect dental treatment offering cosmetic and restorative benefits for years to come.
How Can Inlays and Onlays Improve Your Teeth?
If you look at the chewing surfaces on your back teeth, you’ll notice they have deep fissures. Unfortunately, these gaps and crevices make it easy for food and plaque to get trapped. If there is decay and a large cavity forms in this area, conventional fillings often aren’t strong enough to withstand biting forces and a stronger solution is required. This is where inlays and onlays come into play. Inlays and onlays can help you to retain your healthy tooth structure and avoid the need for expensive root canal or tooth extraction in the future. What’s more, as natural-looking restorations, they can help you to restore your smile and regain your confidence.
What is the Difference Between Inlays and Onlays?
If you have decay on the chewing surface of one of your teeth as well as on one or more of the tooth cusps, you might need a bigger filling than an inlay. Onlays are used for these larger areas of decay. The main difference is that onlays cover the cusp of the tooth, the raised points, as well as the biting surface. However, they are very similar in nature to inlays and the process of having them placed, while requiring more time, is very similar. The great thing about both treatments is that they help your teeth regain a natural look and functionality without you losing any more of your underlying tooth than necessary. And, as a less intrusive procedure than things like crowns and bridges, they are less expensive too.
The Process of Having an Inlay or Onlay
Inlays and onlays are custom-made from porcelain to be both natural-looking and long-lasting. As they are made specifically for you, they fit perfectly and form an extremely strong bond with your underlying tooth. What’s more, at Acacia Dental, we have our own advanced CEREC technology, which means you can have your restoration fitted in just one appointment. When you come in for an inlay or onlay, your restoration will be made and fitted in four key stages:
- Prepare tooth – the first step in having an inlay or onlay is to remove the decay and clean and prepare the tooth in question.
- Take impression – we will then use our in-house CEREC technology to take a digital impression of your smile and can show you a virtual model of your tooth.
- Create restoration – based on the model of your tooth, your inlay or onlay will be designed and constructed using our advanced in-practice milling machine.
- Fit restoration – the last step is to fit the inlay or onlay; we’ll check it’s the perfect size, shape and shade and will bond it permanently to your underlying tooth.
Aftercare for Inlays and Onlays
Directly after the procedure, you may experience a little sensitivity around your tooth. However, this should only last for a couple of days and can be treated with over-the-counter pain relief. You may also want to avoid hot and cold beverages if there is any sensitivity. After that, it is just a case of taking care of your new inlay or onlay in the same way as you would the rest of your teeth. Brush your teeth twice a day, floss regularly and make sure you come back for regular checkups, and your restoration should be there for many years to come.
Finding the Right Restoration for You
While you might have an idea of how big the hole is in your tooth, the only way to really know what the right restoration is for you is to come in for an appointment. We can assess the problem and make recommendations as to the best procedure. If an inlay or an onlay can do the job, we’ll make sure that you have a perfectly natural-looking tooth that will last you well into the future.
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