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What are Inlay and Onlay Restorations?
If you are looking to treat tooth decay or structural damage in your teeth in general, you may be interested in inlays and onlays. Also known as indirect fillings, inlays and onlays offer a well-fitting, stronger and longer lasting solution to restoration. This is from both an aesthetic and functional point of view. Inlays and onlays are often done in a typical dental setting. They can be used in place of traditional dental fillings as they are fitted and bonded to the damaged tooth by your dentist.
Inlay and onlay information
Porcelain is the main material used for inlays and onlays and can be an attractive option for matching the color and consistency of your natural tooth. When settled in, they look practically invisible. The natural tooth is preserved to maintain the structure of those around it.
When the material is bonded within the center of a tooth, it is known as an inlay. When the extent of the damage requires more or even full coverage of the biting surface, it is called an onlay. Both are great options if you are struggling with minimal or moderate tooth decay that extends into a flossing area. This makes it an excellent alternative to full coverage crowns.
Since they are known for lasting quite some time, you do not have to worry about discoloring or aging. The great thing about inlays and onlays is that they strive to preserve the maximum amount of healthy tooth structure while restoring the decayed or damaged areas to ensure maximum functional longevity.
Because the fit of an inlay or onlay is tailored to fit at edges, tooth cleaning can still be maintained with little to no complications as compared to restorative alternatives such as dental crowns. Composite fillings are known to shrink during the curing process whereas onlays and inlays are a precise fit. All in all, both are an extremely stable restorative solution and can even actually strengthen the tooth in question.
Inlays and onlays are some of the most versatile dental treatments available. They can not only fill areas of decay but also can be used as a substitute for those who have silver and gold fillings. Not only are they as attractive and durable as their crown counterpart, but you also will never have to worry about additional decay spreading. This is because they work on the structural integrity of the tooth itself.
The actual process starts with a cleaning to identify any unstable areas present around the tooth. This is also the time that the prosthetic for the inlay or onlay will be sculpted.
A mold is taken of the tooth and the artificial piece is prepared. Once this piece is returned from the laboratory, the tooth is cleaned and attached to the roots with strong dental cement. This cement allows the inlay and onlay to stay in place for longer periods of time.
Best of all, there is very little recovery time after the procedure. With the proper care, your inlay and onlay can provide you will a brilliant smile for many years and even decades!
The bottom line
If you suffer from decay or damage to the teeth, perhaps an inlay or onlay could help. Contact a dental professional for a consultation.
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