Inlays and Onlays
Most people do not think twice about their teeth until they have unexpected pain or complications arise in their mouth. Once these problems appear, though, they can certainly be all-consuming and might be all that you can think about. When you have a toothache, perhaps the first thing you think about is getting it filled with a conventional filling. However, sometimes a tooth is too damaged or has extensive decay, preventing a conventional filling from being beneficial.
To make matters worse, these teeth are not deeply damaged enough to justify a crown. What can you do? When we have patients at our office who have a problem that is too much for a dental filling, but not severe enough for a crown, we here at Wanserski Dental Center for Complex Dentistry like to recommend dental inlays and onlays as a treatment option.
What is the Difference Between a Dental Inlay and a Dental Onlay?
Dental inlays and dental onlays are great options for our patients who may have a tooth that has been damaged by injury or tooth decay. Also known as indirect fillings, dental inlays and onlays get that name because they are created outside your mouth in our lab. Instead of placing the filling directly into the affected tooth, we will apply the dental inlay or onlay to your tooth using a special dental bonding material. The process begins with taking an impression of your affected tooth and creating the inlay or the onlay from that mold.
When you have damage to your dental cusp, you may be a good candidate for a dental inlay. Dental inlays differ from onlays in that they are used on the pointy spaces of your tooth. They are generally used on just one surface instead of multiple cusps. This helps improve the surface of your teeth. When we use a dental inlay, we have a variety of materials that we may reach for, including porcelain, ceramic, composite resin, and metals such as gold or alloys.
When the damage of your tooth expands to multiple cusps and affects the entire biting surface of your tooth, we may then recommend a dental onlay. Dental onlays are also known as partial crowns and can cover a wider area of the tooth. We can use the same materials for onlays that we use for inlays, which means that you will have the choice between ceramic, composite resin, porcelain, and gold or alloy.
The Materials We Use
The type of material that we use will depend greatly on where the damage is and the strength that is needed. While composite resin is natural looking and can match your surrounding teeth, it can be brittle and not as hardy as metals. Gold, on the other hand, is quite strong and can withstand a lot of bite force.
That makes it a great option for your molars, but not as good of a choice on your visible front teeth. Porcelain is stronger than composite resin and resistant to shrinkage and expansion that may occur with metals. We will discuss your options with you during your appointment so we can help you make the best choice for your inlay or your onlay.
If you are interested in learning more about dental inlays or onlays, or you are ready to schedule an appointment with us here at Wanserski Dental Center for Complex Dentistry, please give us a call today at (715) 841-9161!