|Inlays and Onlays
Inlays and onlays are excellent middle-ground treatment options for people who have damaged or decayed teeth that cannot be adequately repaired with a dental filling, but does not warrant a full-coverage dental crown, either. Also known as indirect fillings, inlays and onlays are fabricated outside the mouth in a dental lab. Thereafter, they are bonded to the affected tooth. In contrast, direct dental fillings are not pre-made and are applied directly to the cavity in layers during a single dental session.
What are Dental Inlays?
Dental inlays are indirect fillings that are custom-made to fit in the pits and fissures of your molar and premolar teeth. Dental inlays are used when a cavity is too big for a filling. Aside from being made most commonly of ceramic and porcelain, making them blend in with the natural teeth, dental inlays can also improve the strength of the damaged tooth and last years longer than a regular filling.
What are Dental Onlays?
Like inlays, onlays also cover the pits and fissures of your back teeth but they also extend to the cusps of your teeth. They are used when fillings or even an inlay is not enough to repair a decayed tooth but the damage is less than the need for a dental crown. Onlays are also known as partial crowns since they function a lot like a crown by giving strength and stability to the tooth, but do not cover the entire exposed structure of your tooth.
What to Expect During an Inlay or Onlay Procedure
Getting an inlay and onlay involves many of the same steps as getting fitted for a dental crown, except for one very important difference: your tooth will have less structure removed to accommodate an inlay or onlay.
How Long Do Inlays or Onlays Last?
One of the major benefits of getting an inlay or an onlay is that they can last for a very long time, in comparison to fillings. Your indirect fillings can last anywhere between 5 to 30 years and even longer, depending on which material they were made from and how much they were cared for. Along with observing proper oral hygiene, you can also practice good oral habits like not biting nails, chewing on pencil stubs or clenching your jaw when stressed. You should also exercise caution when eating very hard or sticky food as it can crack or pull of your restoration. If you have a cavity, we recommend that you schedule an appointment with us immediately at (503) 567-4121. Dr. Rowley can then assess the health of your tooth and determine if it requires an inlay or onlay or if a simple filling will do the trick.