How Are Inlay And Onlay Procedures Done?
Despite our best efforts to keep our teeth clean and free from problems, dental decay is a virtually inevitable occurrence. In most instances, a filling is sufficient to fill small to moderate-sized cavities caused by decay. However, if you have developed a large cavity in one of your molars or pre-molars, our dentist may recommend an inlay or onlay as the best course of treatment.
What are inlays?
Inlays are a restorative dental solution that are placed over the chewing surfaces on the molars and pre-molars. Inlays are recommended for patients who have large cavities in these teeth since regular fillings are typically not strong enough to restore the tooth.
While conventional fillings are placed and moulded to cover the cavity on the day of your appointment, each inlay is custom-designed specifically for your tooth using impressions and photographs of your affected tooth. You can even choose the type of material for your inlay, with porcelain, composite resin and gold being popular choices. Our dentist will be able to advise if there is a specific material that they particularly recommended based on your individual needs.
What are onlays?
Onlays are a larger version of inlays and cover both the chewing and biting surfaces (cusps) of the molars and pre-molars. Just like inlays, onlays are also custom-designed for your tooth from the material of your choice. In addition to dealing with areas of decay, they can also add strength to the overall tooth structure. They are especially useful if our dentist believes that a standard filling would cause the tooth to crack.
How are inlay and onlay procedures performed?
The procedure to fit inlays and onlays is identical and takes place over two visits to our dentist’s office. In the first, our dentist will prepare your affected tooth by removing all areas of decay and ensuring that there is no bacteria present. Impressions of your tooth can then be taken, and these will be used to create your custom inlay or onlay. The impressions will be sent to the dental laboratory along with information about your choice of material for your new restoration. You will then be fitted with a temporary restoration that you will wear until your custom-designed inlay or onlay is ready.
Around a week later you will be able to return to our dentist’s office to have your final restoration placed. The temporary version will be removed, and our dentist will check the fit of your permanent inlay or onlay before placing and securing it. Once it is in place, our dentist will check your bite to make sure that there are no problems with how your teeth come together. A quick polish of your restoration concludes the process.
If you have further questions about inlays and onlays as dental restorations, or if you think you may have a cavity that requires this type of repair, please do not hesitate to contact our offices and speak to our knowledgeable and helpful dental team.