What Are Inlays and Onlays?
By Dr. David Wyse on January 14, 2013
Inlays and onlays, also known as “indirect fillings,” are used in the treatment of tooth decay. Inlays and onlays are typically used to treat back teeth that have suffered damage as a result of tooth decay. Tooth decay is the process in which dental caries are formed. It occurs when acid found within the mouth eat away at the surfaces of the teeth. This damaging process results in the formation of small holes or crevices within the teeth. When left untreated, cavities can cause further damage. Untreated cavities may leave nerves exposed and can also cause severe decay within the tooth.
For our patients in Bloomington, inlays, onlays, and dental crowns may be used in the treatment of damaged or decayed teeth. Inlays and onlays are incredibly effective in the treatment of teeth affected by decay and damage. While this is true, inlays and onlays are not always the most suitable treatment. In some cases, a tooth will be too damaged for a traditional filling, inlay, or onlay. In the case of the decay or damage being too severe for an inlay or onlay, Bloomington cosmetic dentist Jay Chrisman may recommend dental crowns. For our patients in Bloomington, dental crowns are often recommended when severe decay or damage is present within a tooth. Dental crowns are incredibly versatile and strong. They may be used to preserve otherwise healthy tooth structures within damaged teeth, to treat teeth that are cracked or chipped, and to reinforce teeth that are weakened from decay.
Inlays and Onlays
Usually made out of porcelain or resin materials, inlays and onlays are tooth-colored dental restorations used to treat rear teeth that have mild to moderate decay. Decay that lies within the indented top surfaces of the teeth, between the cusps, is treated with inlays. Decay that extends to one or more of the cusps of the teeth is treated with onlays. Because inlays and onlays are made out of tooth-colored material they become virtually undetectable once placed. Inlays and onlays are aesthetically pleasing as well as incredibly strong. Their strength and durability make them highly effective at restoring the health and function of the teeth.
Inlays and onlays are typically used when a tooth is too damaged for a traditional filling, but is not yet damaged enough to require a dental crown. They may also be used to reduce or eliminate sensitivity within the teeth, to prevent the loss of a damaged tooth due to decay, to replace amalgam fillings (metal fillings), and to repair cracks and chips in teeth.
Placing Inlays and Onlays
In order to create an inlay or onlay, an impression of the decayed tooth must first be made. By utilizing the iTero™ Digital Impressions Scanner, we no longer have to rely on the goopy putty impressions of the past. Through the iTero™ scanner, we can accurately scan a 3-D impression of the teeth and gums. Once the impression is complete, it will be sent to a dental laboratory. A dental technician will then make an inlay or onlay to your tooth’s unique specifications. During this time, a temporary inlay or onlay will be placed. During your second visit to our dental office, we will remove the temporary inlay or onlay, and securely place the permanent inlay or onlay onto the tooth. We will make any modifications or adjustments to the restoration during this visit.
Contact Our Cosmetic Dentistry Practice
To learn more about inlays and onlays and how they can help restore health and function to your smile, please contact Chrisman & Wyse Cosmetic & General Dentistry today.
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“I love my "new teeth." I feel so much better about my smile. The staff at Dr. Chrisman's office was very friendly and professional. I would recommend them to anyone looking for excellent dental care.” Jennifer B