Modern dentistry offers a variety of options for patients with damaged teeth. Although fillings and crowns are commonly used to repair tooth damage caused by decay or injury, there are times when these treatments aren’t the best choice. For teeth that are not damaged enough for a crown but too damaged for a filling, there are dental onlays and inlays to protect the tooth.
About Inlays and Onlays
A dental inlay is similar to a traditional filling and is usually made from porcelain, although sometimes inlays are crafted from a composite resin material or even a metal such as gold. The inlay is placed inside the tooth, within the top edges. While a traditional filling can cause further damage to a compromised tooth, an inlay will not. Today’s inlays are made to blend in with the color of your natural teeth.
An onlay is sometimes called a partial crown, because it fits over the cusp of the tooth, protecting more than one face of a tooth. Onlays are very similar to inlays; they’re made from the same material and placed in basically the same way. If you have a damaged tooth, Dr. Bauman can determine if an inlay or onlay is the right dental strategy for you.
Advantages of Inlays and Onlays
Both inlays and onlays are a conservative dental approach that can protect your teeth from further damage and eliminate the need for an extraction. Advantages of inlays and onlays include:
- Stability — Inlays and onlays are precisely fitted to ensure maximum stability. In addition, they can actually strengthen the integrity of the tooth without removing any healthy enamel.
- Easy Cleaning — With inlays and onlays, the tooth is easier to keep clean than it would be with a dental crown. They don’t stain, and seal the tooth to keep bacteria out.
- Protection — Inlays and onlays can protect weak areas of your tooth from further damage.
With inlays and onlays, there’s no need to completely reshape the tooth. This is another reason why these techniques are considered conservative or minimally invasive.
How Inlays and Onlays are placed
Inlays and onlays can be done in two office visits. During the first visit, an impression of the tooth is captured. This allows the inlay or onlay to be precisely crafted for a perfect fit. The dentist can place a temporary filling to protect your tooth while you’re waiting for the inlay or onlay to be made. When you come in for your second visit, the temporary filling is removed and the inlay or onlay is permanently bonded to the tooth.
Quality Dental Care in Fanwood and Scotch Plains
At the Fanwood, NJ dental office of Dr. Lawrence Bauman, we handle inlays and onlays in addition to a wide variety of other dental procedures. Whether you need a routine checkup, a cosmetic dentistry procedure, or have a dental emergency, we can help. Schedule your appointment today by giving us a call, or reach out through our online appointment request form. We look forward to serving your dental care needs!