Dental inlays and onlays are restorations used to repair your rear teeth that have a moderate amount of decay. They can also be used to restore teeth that are cracked or fractured if the damage is not severe enough to require a dental crown. Inlays and onlays are usually made from porcelain/ceramic, composite resin, and sometimes even from gold. Because they can be created from tooth-colored materials, inlays and onlays are often used to replace metal fillings for patients who desire a more natural looking smile and more stronger tooth-colored filling. Read on to find out about how inlays and onlays may be able to enhance your smile’s health and appearance.
These Indirect fillings are similar to composite or tooth-colored fillings except that they are made in a dental laboratory and require two visits before being placed. They are considered when not enough tooth structure remains to support a filling but the tooth is not so severely damaged that it needs a crown.
There are two types of indirect fillings – inlays and onlays.
Inlays and onlays are more durable and last much longer than traditional fillings – up to 10-30 years. They can be made of tooth-colored composite resin, porcelain or gold.
Advantages of Dental Inlays and Onlays
In treating dental decay, inlays and onlays help to eliminate tooth sensitivity and eventual tooth loss. I nlays and onlays also offer the following benefits:
- The use of inlays and onlays requires conservative tooth preparationtion than does the use of metal fillings. This allows dentists to conserve more of your natural tooth structure in the treatment process.
- Since they can be made from tooth-colored material, including porcelain and composite resin, inlays and onlays are virtually invisible.
- Inlays and onlays can replace silver fillings to create a healthier, more natural-looking smile.
- Unlike metal fillings, inlays and onlays will not expand or contract in response to temperature changes caused by hot or cold foods. This change in size can cause teeth to weaken or fracture.
- The durable material from which inlays and onlays are made helps them last up to 10-30 years, much longer than that of conventional fillings.
Procedure for Dental Inlays and Onlays Treatment
During the first visit, decay or an old filling is removed. An impression is taken to record the shape of the tooth being repaired and the teeth around it. The impression is sent to a dental laboratory that will make the indirect filling. A temporary filling (described below) is placed to protect the tooth while your restoration is being made. During the second visit, the temporary filling is removed, and the dentist will check the fit of the indirect restoration. Provided the fit is acceptable, it will be permanently cemented into place.