Inlays & Onlays
Cavities are one of the most common dental issues that affect the oral health of millions of individuals of all ages. Usually considered to be an issue only suffered by children, adults can develop cavities as well. A large percentage of adults have developed at least one cavity in a permanent tooth. Typically, cavities are treated with fillings. While effective in most situations, fillings are not always the ideal solution in every situation. Harmony Dental can treat some of these more difficult cavities with inlays and onlays.
Fillings are a common treatment used to treat cavities. There are two types, amalgam, and composite. Amalgam fillings are made up of a mixture of metals suspended in mercury. These fillings are incredibly strong. Composite fillings are composite resin, which is a mixture of fine glass, plastic, and other materials. The greatest advantage of these fillings is that they are tooth-colored, making them ideal for cavities affecting visible teeth.
While both amalgam and composite fillings have their place, cavities in the chewing surfaces of your molars present complications. An amalgam filling can be driven deeper into the tooth by your chewing forces, which can cause the tooth to fracture or split. A composite filling may not be able to stand up to the chewing pressures exerted on your molars. The pressure can cause the fillings to wear out faster or even break completely.
Inlays and Onlays
Inlays and onlays are fillings designed to treat these more difficult cavities. They are indirect fillings. Indirect fillings are those that are designed and created outside of the tooth and then bonded into the cavity rather than being cured inside of it. Inlays are used to fill cavities between the cusps of your molars. Onlays, which are also called partial crowns, are used when the cusps of your molars have been affected by decay. They help to rebuild the structure of your tooth while restoring your oral health.
How Inlays and Onlays are Placed
It takes two appointments to place inlays and onlays. During your first appointment, the cavity is prepared. This is not unlike preparing a tooth for a regular filling. A local anesthetic is administered. The tooth is cleaned, and the decay is drilled away. Once the decay has been cleared out of the cavity, we then take an impression of the tooth. A temporary filling is placed inside the cavity.
Your impression is sent to our dental lab, where it is used to design and create your custom inlay or onlay. These fillings can be made from many different materials, including metal and porcelain. Porcelain is the preferred material, improving the appearance of the tooth while also improving your oral health. At your second appointment, we remove the temporary filling and check your inlay or onlay for fit and bite. If everything looks good, we bond the filling into place in the cavity.
Benefits of Inlays and Onlays
Inlays and onlays both provide several benefits. These include:
Inlays and onlays provide an effective treatment for cavities on the chewing surfaces of your molars.
For more information, and to find out if this treatment is right for you, call Harmony Dental at (541) 246-3250 today.