Inlays and Onlays
Like fillings and crowns, inlays and onlays are used to repair your tooth if you suffer from decay. When fillings offer too little protection and crowns offer too much protection, inlays and onlays can offer an alternative solution and are recommended by our dentist at Rush Creek Dentistry. Fillings are used to fill in small cavities, while crowns are used to cover a large amount of decay. Inlays are used instead of fillings when a dentist needs a more unique shape than a filling can provide to fit the area of decay. Onlays can also replace fillings but are different from inlays because they can cover the surface of the tooth that you use to chew.
Your inlay procedure will require two appointments with your dentist. During the first appointment, your dentist will take an x-ray of the tooth, the roots, and the surrounding bone. This will allow your dentist to see the full extent of the decay in your teeth. Now your dentist will use a needle to inject a local anesthetic. This will ensure that your procedure goes without unwanted discomfort. Then they will remove the decay with a drill, laser, or air abrasion instrument. Your dentist might also use caries detector dye which is a dye that can leave a stain on less obvious areas of decay. This will help to eliminate all decay without causing excessive damage to the structure of your tooth.
Inlays are so important because they give teeth another option besides crowns, which requires damage to occur to virtually the entire tooth. After the area of decay has been removed, your dentist can now make a mold of the area. Then your inlay will be manufactured at a dental lab and made to perfectly fit the hollow of your tooth. Materials used for an inlay are traditionally porcelain or composite resin materials. Your inlay will return in a few weeks. Finally, your dentist will now be able to use a local anesthetic once more and then bond the inlay to the tooth. Another reason why inlays are so important is that they can be used to cover old fillings with tooth-colored resin and restore their looks.
Your onlay procedure will be very similar to an inlay procedure. The key difference between inlays and onlays is that your onlay will extend onto the chewing surface of your tooth. Onlays will cover the cusps of your tooth (cusps are the elevated mounds on canines and your back teeth). Onlays are used when fillings or inlays are not enough to restore your tooth’s appearance and strength.
First an x-ray is required to examine the tooth, its roots, and the bones that surround it. Like inlays, your tooth will be prepared by removing the area of decay after the local anesthetic is injected. Then your dentist will make an impression of the cavity and send it to a dental laboratory to be manufactured. A temporary onlay will be used until the permanent one arrives a few weeks later. Onlays are made of porcelain and composite resin just like inlays. Finally your dentist will apply a local anesthetic and permanently cement your onlay into place.
Taking Care of Your Inlays and Onlays
Aftercare for inlays and onlays is very simple, just follow normal healthy oral hygiene practices. At Rush Creek Dentistry we recommend flossing and brushing teeth twice a day or ideally after each meal, using fluoride toothpaste or mouthwash, and scheduling dental cleanings every six months by calling us at 682-277-0535.