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Am I a Candidate for Inlays and Onlays ?

If your teeth are decayed or damaged, but not so damaged as to require a crown, you may be a good candidate.

Dental inlays and onlays are restorations used to repair back teeth that have a mild to moderate amount of decay. They can also be used to restore teeth that are cracked or fractured if the damage is not severe enough to require a dental crown. Inlays and onlays are custom made from similar materials used in porcelain veneers: composite resin by master lab technicians. They can also be created from tooth-colored materials. Inlays and onlays are often used to replace metal fillings for patients who desire a more natural-looking smile.

What are Inlays ?

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If a cavity in a tooth is particularly large, your dentist may suggest an inlay instead of having a regular filling. In very large cavities you need a material that is going to 'bond' to your remaining tooth structure rather than just filling in the hole.

An Inlay is specifically designed in a laboratory to ensure it fits the cavity of your tooth like a filling. The exception is that the materials and glues involved in this procedure are far superior to anything your dentist can do on the spot, and are custom made for you.

What are Onlays?

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Onlays are used to treat decay that extends to one or more of the cusps. Onlays are placed in much the same way as inlays. First, the tooth is prepared, removing decay, cracks, etc., and an impression of the prepared tooth is taken. A temporary onlay is placed over the tooth. The impression is then sent to a master dental technician who creates the onlay according to the tooth's dimensions. When you return to the office, the temporary onlay is removed, and the permanent restoration is bonded to the tooth using the latest bonding materials.

Benefits of Dental Inlays and Onlays

In treating dental decay, inlays and onlays help to eliminate tooth sensitivity and eventual tooth loss.

Inlays and onlays also offer the following benefits : -

  • Since they can be made from tooth-colored material, including porcelain and composite resin, inlays and onlays are virtually invisible.
  • Unlike metal fillings, inlays and onlays will not expand or contract in response to temperature changes caused by hot or cold foods. This change in size can cause teeth to weaken or fracture.
  • The use of inlays and onlays requires less tooth reduction than does the use of metal fillings. This allows dentists to conserve more of a patient's natural tooth structure in the treatment process.
  • Because of the way inlays and onlays are made and bonded, they can help to strengthen teeth by up to 75 percent.
  • Keeping your teeth decay-free and your smile beautifully white is our focus at Barker Aesthetic Dentistry. Please call our office for a consultation about restoring the health and beauty of your smile.

How It's Done ?

There are two types of inlays and onlays: direct and indirect. Direct inlays and onlays are made in the dental office. They are placed in one visit. Indirect inlays and onlays are made in a laboratory. Two visits are needed to place them. The type your dentist will use depends on how much of the tooth is left. It also depends on how obvious the inlay or onlay will be to other people.

Direct Inlays and Onlays : - Your dentist will remove the decay and shape the tooth. He or she will put a soft material called composite resin on the tooth. The composite resin is molded to fit the tooth. The inlay is removed and hardened in a special oven. Then, your dentist will cement the hardened inlay to your tooth. After the inlay is cemented, it will be polished. Your dentist may have to shape it slightly to adjust the way your teeth come together. There is also new technology which allows the dentist to have a ceramic inlay or onlay made in the office and cemented on at the same visit.

Indirect Inlays and Onlays : - Your dentist will remove the decay. He or she then will make an impression of the prepared tooth and neighboring teeth. The tooth will get a temporary filling. The impression will be sent to a laboratory, which will make the inlay or onlay. At your second visit, your dentist will take out the temporary filling and clean the tooth. He or she will cement the inlay or onlay to the tooth. Then, it will be polished. Your dentist may have to shape it slightly to adjust the way your teeth come together.

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