Inlays and Onlays – Non-invasive restorations for damaged teeth
Living with a broken or damaged tooth can be painful and difficult. If the problem is significant enough to cause discomfort but not extreme enough to require extraction, the most sensible restorative dentistry solution is often a dental inlay or onlay.
Some damaged teeth are too fragile to support a tooth-colored filling. Other teeth are not compromised so greatly that they require a porcelain crown. What most patients are delighted to discover is that, when the solution for your oral health complaint is an inlay or onlay, the procedure is non-invasive.
How do inlays and onlays differ?
The same method of repair is used to apply dental inlays and onlays. However, inlays and onlays cover different parts of a tooth. A dental inlay is positioned inside the top center of the tooth – the biting surface – and acts similarly to a filling. A dental onlay is a larger restoration and covers the top center of the tooth while also extending over one or more of the tooth’s cusps. Onlays are often referred to as a “partial crown.”
When is an inlay or onlay used?
Inlays and onlays are called upon in many different dental restorations. A versatile and non-invasive solution, these repairs also look completely natural, eliminating any glaring problems from your smile. Inlays and onlays are used to:
- Replace old fillings
- Repair decayed teeth
- Correct chipped or cracked teeth
- Prevent further decay or deterioration
- Whiten dull or discolored teeth
- Fill gapped teeth
- Stabilize the surrounding tooth structure
The composition of inlays and onlays
At your Hello Family Dentistry, we create custom-made and custom-shaped inlays and onlays that are durable and resistant to stains. Tooth inlays and onlays are made using the innovative CEREC restoration system. Located in our office, this solution makes inlays and onlays one of the quickest smile makeover options because our patients don’t have to wait for their repairs to be completed off-site.
These on-site restorations are often referred to as direct dental inlays or onlays, thanks to the readily available CEREC technology. Using 3D computer imagery, your porcelain restoration is then designed and produced at Hello Family Dental while you wait. There is no need to endure impressions, temporary fillings, or future appointments to finish the repairs.
Dental onlays vs. porcelain crowns
If you have an especially problematic tooth that you’re certain will need a major repair, you may be curious to know why your restorative dentist has not recommended a porcelain crown. Crowns are an excellent solution for the right kind of problem. But when it is necessary to remove more tooth structure to fit a porcelain crown in place, your dentist will make the wise decision to give you an onlay instead. This choice helps prevent dental complications and problems in the future.
Inlays and onlays are incredibly durable and can often last for decades if they are properly cared for – this includes daily brushing and flossing at home, as well as preventive dental visits every six months for a cleaning and exam.
Because inlays and onlays feel, look, and work just like natural teeth, this restorative dentistry solution can complete your smile and make it look as though you never had a problem with your teeth. Contact Dr. Mitul Patel at Hello Family Dental in Suwanee to find out what type of restoration is best for your damaged tooth.
We’ll have you smiling in no time!