Inlays and Onlays: What Are They?

May 6, 2013 — by Dr. David Ross
Tags: Inlays Onlays Dental Crowns Dental Fillings

Oviedo Inlays, Onlays, Partial CrownsAt Alafaya Family Dentistry, our Oviedo cosmetic dentists offer inlays and onlays to restore missing tooth structure that has been lost to damage or decay. Inlays and onlays are an excellent option to restore part of a missing tooth. For our patients in Oviedo, dental crowns, which encase the entire tooth surface, can also be used to restore injured teeth. But for patients with only partial tooth damage, it is best to keep as much natural tooth as possible; this is possible with inlays and onlays.

At our state-of-the-art office in Oviedo, cosmetic dentists David Ross and Karen Schmitt craft inlays and onlays, also called indirect fillings, specialized to fit each patient’s tooth and restore it to a natural look. Inlays are designed to fit within the indented surface of the molars to strengthen the tooth and prevent further decay. Onlays are larger than onlays and can restore the indented surface, along with worn or broken cusps, or the pointed edges of the tooth.

The Inlay and Onlay Procedure

Inlays and onlays differ from traditional fillings because they are made in a laboratory according to a mold of a tooth, rather than molded to your tooth during your visit like traditional fillings. At our Oviedo dentistry office, we make each inlay and onlay to match the size, shape, and color of a patient’s other teeth. Inlays and onlays can usually be applied in two visits.

During the first visit, our cosmetic dentists take a mold of the tooth’s cavity or damaged area. This mold is sent to a dental lab, from which the inlay or onlay is cast from porcelain or tooth-colored resin to fit with the tooth. A temporary inlay or onlay may also be applied during this visit to protect the tooth until the permanent indirect filling can be placed.

In the second visit, the inlay or onlay is measured against the tooth to ensure that it fits snugly and does not obstruct a patient’s natural bite. If it matches as intended, it is secured with bonding material. Any excess material is polished off of the tooth.

Inlays and onlays can last 15 to 20 years if properly maintained by the patient and monitored during regular dental appointments. These prostheses function as normal teeth and can be brushed, flossed, and rinsed as usual.

Who Is a Candidate for Inlays and Onlays?

Inlays and onlays are less invasive dental restorative options than dental crowns, bridges, dentures, or dental implants. They are long-lasting and fit more snugly than traditional fillings because they are crafted to precisely match the façade of each patient’s natural tooth. They are a great option for patients who:

  • Want to maintain a regular dental hygiene routine. Inlays and onlays function like normal teeth and can be brushed, flossed, and rinsed regularly.
  • Would like a natural-looking restoration. At our Oviedo cosmetic dentistry practice, we use porcelain or tooth-colored resin to blend naturally with other teeth.
  • Have light to a moderate amount of damage in a tooth. Inlays and onlays are intended to support and supplement the natural tooth, not replace a tooth that is extensively damaged or decayed.
  • Have sensitivity in a tooth or teeth due to decay or damage and want to strengthen the tooth and seal it.
  • Have a cavity in between two teeth. Inlays and onlays can fit snugly in a tight space, are long-lasting, and less likely to shrink than traditional fillings.

For more information and to schedule a private, informative consultation with our professionals at Alafaya Family Dentistry, contact us today.

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