If you have damaged one of your teeth, the main way that your dentist will decide the best treatment for you will be by taking a look at the extent of the damage that has been caused. You are likely to be familiar with treatments such as fillings and crowns, but what about when the level of damage lies somewhere inbetween?
Inlays and onlays are used to repair any of your rear teeth that might have been decayed or damaged. They will be too damaged to allow a filling to solve the problem, but not damaged enough to mean that you require a crown to be fitted.
When compared to other treatment options that you could choose, there are various benefits to having inlays and onlays. These include:
The most likely situation for these to be used is when you have fillings that need to be either removed or replaced. Your dentist may feel that the damage is too much to place another filling in the gap, but also feels that you don’t really need a crown to be fitted at this point.
Although the two involve a very similar procedure, there are some key differences. Inlays and onlays are usually produced in a laboratory, instead of being applied directly to the teeth. Once created, a dental inlay is quite similar to having a filling, except that it extends to the top edges of your teeth. An onlay, on the other hand, is a little more extensive, as it fits over the edges of your teeth, almost like having a cap on the top.
For inlays and onlays, you will need to attend two separate appointments before the process is complete. At the first one, the area will be numbed, and any damaged or decayed tooth will be removed – just like you would expect if you were having a filling done. Your tooth will then be prepared for the inlay or onlay.
After this, we will take an impression of the tooth in question using putty, meaning that we can have the inlay or onlay created in such a way that it fits your teeth perfectly. You will be fitted with a temporary solution to help avoid sensitivity while you’re waiting for the lab to finish.
At the second appointment, this temporary solution will be removed, and the inlay or onlay will be fitted. This may take a little time, as we will need to make sure that it fits perfectly, to avoid issues further down the line. We will then finish your treatment with a polish, to ensure that your teeth look perfect and that the inlay or onlay matches with the teeth that surround it. You will probably find that the first appointment takes longer than the second.
If you take care of your teeth properly already, you should find that this is enough to take care of them after you’ve had this treatment. You should brush and use mouthwash twice every day, and floss on a regular basis. This will help to ensure that your teeth and your inlay or onlay remain in good condition, and it can also mean that the treatment will be successful for much longer.
This can be a great alternative if a filling isn’t enough for your damaged tooth anymore, and if your dentist recommends this as a good choice for you, you will be more than happy with the results at the end of the process.