Inlays and Onlays
Regardless of your dental hygiene habits, teeth sometimes follow their own path. For some, the teeth remain healthy and strong throughout your entire life. However, for many others, the ravages of time, hygiene and food slowly erode teeth surfaces until damage occurs. Even a small fracture can set the stage for serious dental complications.
At Smile Gallery Dental Clinic, we specialise in strengthening and healing your teeth via advanced treatment options, such as inlays and onlays. While our wish is for everyone in our community to never need this treatment, should you find yourself with a damaged tooth, we have the talent and experience to restore your mouth back to its pristine state.
An Overview of Inlays and Onlays | Structural Restoration
In essence, inlays and inlays are restorative treatments designed to reconstruct the structural integrity of teeth. Whether through trauma, such as chipping a significant portion of a tooth, or because of unchecked tooth decay caused by a cavity, inlays and onlays literally rebuild your tooth.
The ideal patient straddles the line between needing a traditional dental filling or a dental crown. Typically, this procedure is favoured when there’s too little viable tooth caused by decay or damage in the tooth structure for a successful filling, but with enough healthy tooth left so a dental crown is unnecessary. Instead of eliminating the rest of the healthy tooth structure for a crown, or risking a filling falling out, inlays and inlays keep more of your original tooth, which is always recommended.
The Benefits of Inlays and Onlays | Upgrading Dental Health
The primary goal of this procedure is to boost the overall health and viability of a damaged tooth. For many patients, this treatment offers a myriad of benefits not achievable by standard metal fillings. Some of the most noteworthy advantages include:
- Extreme Durability | As with many dental treatments, most wish to avoid repeating this procedure multiple times. The majority of inlays and inlays use extremely durable materials capable of lasting decades.
- Fortifying Tooth Strength | Unlike traditional metal fillings, which are known to actually weaken a tooth, inlays and onlays actually fortify your tooth. Meaning, after the procedure, the tooth is significantly stronger and capable of withstanding normal wear-and-tear that other treatments are susceptible to.
- Future Treatment Prevention | In many cases, this procedure safeguards a vulnerable tooth and prevents the need for future, more invasive, treatments.
Inlay and Only Treatment Process
Based upon the tooth, either an inlay or an onlay is used. An inlay actually fits within the tooth, much like a puzzle piece. Onlays are just that, it lays on the prepared surface of a tooth. They may be made out of porcelain, gold or composite. During your initial appointment, the dentist will determine which procedure is best for your unique situation along with the ideal material.
Two appointments are necessary for this procedure. The first involves preparing the area and the second visit is to install the actual inlay or onlay.
Initial Appointment | Preparing the Site
- A numbing agent, such as a local anaesthetic is used to numb the entire procedure area. Most patients only feel a little pressure throughout this procedure.
- Decay is carefully removed and the surface of the tooth is prepared.
- Using dental putty, an impression of your tooth is made by placing the putting in a tray and biting down on it.
- After several minutes, the first impression tray is removed and a mould is made of your opposing teeth. This ensures when the inlay or onlay is made your bite pattern is taken into consideration.
- A temporary inlay or onlay is put on your prepared tooth where it’ll remain until your permanent fixture is created, which can take up to two weeks.
The Final Step | Installing Your Inlay or Onlay
- The area is once again numbed with a local anaesthetic.
- The temporary fixture is carefully removed and the underlying tooth is cleaned in preparation for the permanent inlay or onlay.
- Carefully, the dentist will install the fixture and make sure the fit is perfect. You’ll be asked to bite down to ensure it doesn’t irritate your jaw. If you’re happy with the feel and appearance, the fixture is permanently attached with dental cement.