Repair Your Teeth with Dental Inlays and Onlays
If you are suffering from tooth decay that is too extensive for a filling, but not severe enough for a crown, a dental inlay or onlay may be the best solution. Dental inlays and onlays are restorations designed to replace precise amounts of damaged tissue like a puzzle piece. They are usually used to repair mild to moderate damage on the back teeth. Dr. Teddi Olszewski can place dental inlays and onlays at her Northampton, MA, practice to repair your tooth without having to dramatically alter its structure. If you would like to schedule a consultation, contact us today.
Basics of Inlays and Onlays
Inlays and onlays are considered the intermediate step between the restorative capabilities of dental fillings and crowns, incorporating some benefits of both. Fundamentally, Inlays and onlays perform the same function, and differ only in the area of the tooth they repair.
Inlays are best suited for restoring the chewing surface of a tooth, within its ridges or cusps. Onlays are typically more appropriate for damage that has spread to or beyond the cusps. Inlays and onlays can be made from a variety of different materials, including porcelain, composite resin, and gold.
Placing the Restorations
Placing an inlay or onlay is a simple, two-appointment process. During the first visit, we will administer a local anesthetic to ensure minimal discomfort during the procedure. Next, we thoroughly clear decay and debris from the damaged tooth. Once the tooth is clean, we take an impression and place a temporary inlay or onlay over the treatment site until the next appointment.
In between your visits, the mold or impression is sent to an off-site laboratory. There, a skilled dental technician uses the impression as a reference to create a customized restoration that will fit precisely with your tooth.
At your second appointment, your temporary restoration will be removed and the permanent inlay or onlay is bonded to the tooth. We will perform a final polishing to ensure that the restoration aligns with your bite. If no additional adjustments are needed, your restoration is complete and you can return to your normal routine. If necessary, a follow-up appointment can be scheduled to further refine the surface of the inlay or onlay for maximum comfort.
Advantages of Inlays and Onlays
Like all restorations, inlays and onlays repair damage, prevent pain, and reduce the risk of future tooth loss. They also offer other important benefits:
- A more natural-looking smile: Tooth-colored inlays and onlays can blend in seamlessly with your surrounding tooth, repairing your smile without any cosmetic drawbacks.
- Metal-free: The metal in silver amalgam restorations is highly sensitive to temperature change and may expand or contract when exposed to heat or cold. This change can damage a tooth, ultimately weakening its structure. Our inlays fluctuate at virtually the same rate as your tooth, making them a much better fit.
- Customized fit: Since inlays and onlays are created from impressions of your tooth, they fit precisely and comfortably. They are also ideal for addressing damage in tight areas.
- Tooth preservation: We strive to preserve your teeth as much as possible. When tooth damage is extensive, less conservative treatment methods such as crowns are often necessary, requiring extensive alteration of the tooth structure. An inlay or onlay preserves more of the tooth, and can be a better solution for a tooth with only moderate decay.
Contact Us Today
Dr. Olszewski treats all of her patients with an unparalleled level of personal attention to ensure the best treatment possible. To learn more about how dental inlays and onlays can improve your oral health, schedule an appointment today.