What happens when an old filling gets damaged or deteriorates? Naturally, it needs to be replaced. The process of removing, replacing or restoring old fillings is often carried out via the use of an inlay or onlay. Inlays and onlays are popular types of restorative dentistry treatments that can seal small gaps in teeth that occur when fillings deteriorate or completely restore a tooth’s surface that has been worn down due to grinding. Fort Lauderdale dentist Dr. Natalia Benda-Celenski has more than 15 years of experience performing restorative procedures and will evaluate your teeth to determine if an inlay or onlay is a good option for you.
Inlays and onlays are restorative dental treatments used to repair minor to moderate issues that are not severe enough to require a dental crown, such as mild tooth decay, small cracks in teeth, or worn-down fillings. Commonly referred to as indirect fillings, inlays and onlays are actually created in a laboratory, then permanently adhered to the tooth’s surface. They are typically made from porcelain, but can also be created from gold or composite resin. Best of all, not only do inlays and onlays improve the look, feel, and health of teeth, they actually strengthen them.
Inlays: Dental inlays treat smaller dental imperfections and fit inside one or more tips of a tooth’s cusps (the edges on the top of a tooth). Typically made from tooth-colored porcelain, They are ideal for replacing existing fillings that may have deteriorated or metal fillings that are aesthetically unappealing.
Onlays: An onlay covers the entire chewing surface of the tooth, extending past the cusps, and is used when the damaged area is more extensive.
Like natural teeth, both inlays and onlays should be cleaned by brushing and flossing daily and maintained by undergoing regular dental checkups.
The processes involved in inlay or onlay procedures are nearly identical, typically performed over two separate office visits. During the initial, local anesthesia is applied to the area and the decay or damage is removed using a drill (similar to the way a tooth is prepped for a regular filling). Then, an impression of the tooth is taken and sent to a lab where the inlay or onlay will be created to custom-fit your tooth and precisely match the tooth’s shade. A temporary cover will be placed over the tooth until the inlay or onlay is ready.
At your next visit, the temporary cover will be removed and the inlay or onlay will be tested for proper fit and bite. When the perfect fit is established, the inlay or onlay will be bonded to the tooth using a strong adhesive, most often composed of a resin material. For the final step, the inlay or onlay is polished for optimal fit, comfort, and appearance. Similar to crowns, dental inlays and onlays can take some time to get used to, but you’ll immediately enjoy a restored, beautiful smile.
Both inlays and onlays offer a host of benefits, in addition to restoring teeth that are suffering from minor decay or cracks. When compared with regular fillings, inlays and onlays:
Inlays and onlays are used to treat minor cracks or decay that can develop due to the natural wearing of a filling or smoothing down of a tooth’s surface from prolonged grinding. To learn more about inlays and onlays and find out if they are right for you, schedule an appointment with Dr. Natalia at our Fort Lauderdale office by phone at (954) 491-8812 or contact us online.