Sometimes, teeth are fractured, decayed, or worn to the point where a traditional filling is not sufficient enough to replace the damaged area. In this case, a stronger restorative material may be necessary.
Inlays and onlays (each are chosen based on the amount of damaged tooth structure to be removed and restored) are types of restorations used to repair a tooth that has experienced damage or decay, but the damage may not be severe enough to receive a crown. Both inlays and onlays are made in a laboratory, are made of a stronger material than traditional fillings, and are bonded to the surface of the tooth for added strength and stability.
When Inlays and Onlays are used:
An inlay is most commonly used when a cavity is too large for a traditional dental filling. Instead, a solid piece of restorative material is created to fit into the space between the cusps in the center of the tooth, once a cavity has been removed. This piece is then cemented into place.
An onlay is also made from a solid piece of restorative material, but is used to cover one or more cusps of the tooth. This type of restoration is usually indicated for teeth with large cavities, existing filling material, and/or fracture lines.
Inlays and Onlays vs Fillings:
Compared to traditional fillings, inlays and onlays are more durable and are less likely to experience discoloration. Inlays and onlays generally last longer, and provide added support and protection to a damaged tooth. They are custom-made for each individual patient and tooth, allowing for a more ideal fit, without the expansion and contraction of restorative material that can occur with fillings.
Dr. Schultz and her team prefer to treat your teeth as conservatively as possible, and the ability to offer inlays and onlays as a healthy alternative to a crown (in the right situations), allows us to do just that! Contact us today for more information!