You have a big filling that needs replacement. Do you have to get a full crown? Not necessarily. A more conservative option, inlays and onlays fit into a tooth similarly to a filling, yet they are milled restorations, much like a crown. The bumps on top of a tooth are called cusps. Inlays fit between cusps, while onlays fit over one or more cusps. Inlays and onlays allow a patient to retain more natural tooth structure, which is always best.
If you would like to learn whether an inlay or onlay is appropriate for your restoration, please call 918-528-3330 or email élan by Dr. Meghan Hodges in Tulsa, OK for an appointment.
Benefits of Inlays and Onlays
Ideally, restorative dentistry should accomplish many tasks:
- Repair current damage
- Prevent future damage
- Restore lost strength
- Create an attractive appearance
There are not many restorations that are able to accomplish all these tasks simultaneously, but inlays and onlays are among them. These alternatives to composite tooth-colored fillings are fully ceramic restorations that are custom-crafted for your teeth.
Inlays and onlays don’t just plug a hole, they restore strength to your tooth and have excellent wear properties. In a study comparing seven different types of restorations, including metal amalgam and gold fillings, ceramic inlays had the lowest failure rate. Nearly 99% of them were still in place at the end of the 15-year study, although not all restorations had been in place for the full study period.
Not only that, but inlays and onlays have the best aesthetics of any filling: they look just like your natural tooth material, not just in color but in luster.
Are Inlays or Onlays Right for You?
Not every situation is right for an inlay or onlay, but Dr. Hodges will assess your problem and determine the best solution for you. Because they are created in a lab like a crown, inlays and onlays require two appointments. At the first visit, we will prepare your tooth by removing your tooth decay or old filling and cleaning the area. We will take a dental impression and send it to our dental lab so that a technician can create a custom inlay or onlay for you. The dentist will determine the best material to use, but in most cases, teeth that show when you smile or speak can have a white restoration. Back teeth incur extreme pressure, so a metal inlay or onlay may be indicated. You’ll wear a temporary until the lab delivers your final restoration. At the second appointment, the dentist will remove your temporary and permanently cement your final inlay or onlay into position. After polishing and modifying the restoration as necessary to ensure proper bite alignment, you’ll enjoy your stronger, healthier smile for years to come.
To learn whether you can benefit from porcelain inlays or onlays in Tulsa, please contact élan by Dr. Meghan Hodges today.