Inlays and Onlays
When one of our patients has a cavity, we normally use a filling to restore the tooth. However, there are times when we need to use different methods. Inlays and onlays, while older dental procedures, are still used today. There are times when the patients we see at Aspire Dental Spa are ideal candidates for one of these two options.
What Are Inlays and Onlays?
While dental fillings can be used to fill in most cavities, inlays and onlays are used for specific situations. Inlays are used when a tooth is missing some of the enamel around or between its cusps. The inlay is shaped into the right shape and then attached to the tooth using a bonding material. Inlays, like fillings, are made from material that looks similar to natural teeth and can be customized so that they blend in very well with the teeth they are being attached to. While inlays can be damaged like fillings, they are actually less likely to fall out.
Onlays are often used when a tooth has completely lost one of its cusps. They act as a replacement cusp so you can still chew and grind food with that tooth. Onlays are attached to your tooth using the same type of bonding material we use with inlays. The difference, however, is that an onlay covers most of the top of a tooth in a manner similar to how a crown works. Onlays do not cover the entire surface, so they are more like a three-fourths crown than a full crown. This has led some to call onlays partial crowns.
How Are Inlays and Onlays Placed?
The process for creating inlays and onlays is the same. You will first need to come in for imprints and measurements. This information is used to create a computer model of your tooth and design the actual inlay or onlay. If you are having an onlay placed, we will put a temporary cap in place to protect the tooth. This is similar to a temporary crown.
A lab will create the product and send it to us. You then come in to have the inlay or onlay actually placed. First, we do a deep cleaning of the tooth and remove all decay from it. Then we use a special material to bond the inlay or outlay to the tooth. Once it has hardened, the inlay or outlay is permanently attached.
Who Should Consider Inlays and Onlays?
If you are in need of a filling, it is possible an inlay or an onlay could also be an option. We would have to do an exam and look at the tooth. Typically, inlays and onlays are good options if you do not need a full dental crown, but are in need of repairs to the top part of a tooth. There is less preparation work needed for inlays and onlays, which can also be beneficial.
If you have a cavity, you should make an appointment with Aspire Dental Spa as soon as you can so we can take steps to save the tooth. This could include using an inlay or an onlay. Call us at (216) 616-9009 to make an appointment today for the exam.