More substantial than fillings but less extreme than crowns, inlays and onlays (also known as partial crowns) help restore the back teeth (molars) back to their normal shape, size, and function when they have been damaged, worn down, broken, or otherwise not at their peak, perhaps from a large cavity. Inlays and onlays are similar – an onlay used rather than an inlay when there is more damage to the tooth in question. But both are fitted over the existing portion of the tooth to build it back up and create a natural looking result that is not only aesthetically pleasing, but protective of the tooth. Here is more to know about inlays and onlays, as to what the process is like, if you may be a good candidate, and so forth:
How the Procedure Takes Shape
We will remove any decayed portion of the tooth and clean everything out before we take an impression of the tooth. This impression will be transferred to a dental lab where the inlay or onlay will be crafted. This means you will have to return to the office for a second appointment where we will fit the inlay or onlay over your tooth. In the interim, which could be up to 2-3 weeks, you will have a temporary inlay or onlay placed over your tooth. Once the permanent piece is ready, it is cemented in place with a strong resin over the tooth which will be slightly etched for a secure fit that lasts a long time. Functionality is just like that of a normal tooth, but now the tooth is better protected from further damage. The inlay or onlay is natural looking and will match your teeth closely.
Benefits of Inlays and Onlays
- More budget-friendly than crowns
- Less alteration of tooth is required/minimal tooth surface removed (as compared to crowns)
- Stronger than regular fillings
- Greater surface area can be repaired (as compared to fillings)
- Can eliminate persistent toothache
- Natural look
- Secure fit
- Longevity – can last up to 30 years
Caring for Your Inlays and Onlays
You may experience some sensitivity immediately following the procedure, but that should fade in no time. After you leave the office, you will be back to normal function in just a few days, and you can eat the foods you love and have your stellar smile back. As for hygiene, brush and floss twice daily and be sure to maintain healthy oral habits. Continue to keep your regular dental exams, and you should be all set.
For more information about inlays and onlays or if you would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Kaiser, please call Park Dental at 407-671-8901.