When it comes to dental restorations, inlays and onlays are two commonly used options. These procedures are essential for repairing damaged teeth, but they are not as well-known as treatments like fillings or crowns.
Before you plan to get inlays & onlays in Coweta Ok, it’s important to understand their differences. And this is exactly what we have covered in this article. Continue reading!
1. What Are Inlays and Onlays?
Inlays and onlays are dental restorations used to repair teeth that have been damaged due to decay or trauma. They are often referred to as “indirect fillings” because they are fabricated outside the mouth and then bonded to the damaged tooth. Both inlays and onlays are typically made from materials like porcelain, composite resin, or gold, chosen for their durability and ability to match the natural color of teeth.
2. Inlays: Precision and Strength
Inlays are smaller restorations designed to fit inside the cusps (the raised points) of a tooth. They are typically used when the damage or decay is limited to the center of the tooth and doesn’t affect the cusps. Inlays offer several advantages:
Precision: Inlays are incredibly precise because they are fabricated in a dental laboratory. This allows for a custom fit that ensures minimal disruption to the tooth’s structure.
Strength: Inlays provide excellent strength and support to the tooth, making it more resilient to chewing forces. This can help prolong the life of the tooth.
Aesthetic Appeal: Inlays can be made from tooth-colored materials, ensuring they blend seamlessly with the natural tooth, making them virtually invisible.
3. Onlays: Extensive Coverage
Onlays, on the other hand, are more extensive restorations that cover one or more cusps of the tooth. They are used when the damage or decay extends to the cusps or the biting surface of the tooth. Onlays offer unique benefits:
Preservation of Tooth Structure: Onlays are designed to preserve as much of the natural tooth structure as possible while still providing the necessary restoration. This means less removal of healthy tooth material compared to traditional crowns.
Durability: Due to their extensive coverage, onlays are highly durable and can withstand significant chewing forces. They are an excellent choice for restoring heavily damaged teeth.
Aesthetic Options: Like inlays, onlays can be made from tooth-colored materials, ensuring they look natural and aesthetically pleasing.
4. The Procedure
Both inlay and onlay procedures typically involve two appointments:
a. First Appointment:
Preparation: The dentist will numb the affected tooth and remove any decay or damaged tissue. For inlays, the preparation is minimal, typically involving the removal of only the damaged portion. For onlays, more extensive preparation is needed to accommodate the larger restoration.
Impressions: After preparation, an impression of the tooth is taken. This impression is sent to a dental laboratory where the inlay or onlay is custom-made to fit precisely.
Temporary Restoration: While the custom restoration is being created, a temporary filling or restoration may be placed to protect the tooth.
b. Second Appointment:
Fitting and Bonding: Once the inlay or onlay is ready, the temporary restoration is removed, and the custom-made restoration is carefully fitted and bonded to the tooth using dental cement.
5. Which Is Right for You?
The choice between an inlay and an onlay depends on the extent of tooth damage. Inlays are suitable for smaller, less extensive damage, while onlays are recommended for more substantial restorations that involve the cusps. Your dentist will assess your specific situation and recommend the most appropriate option.
In conclusion, inlays and onlays are valuable dental restorations that offer precise, durable, and aesthetically pleasing solutions for damaged teeth. Understanding the difference between the two can help you make informed decisions about your dental care. Remember to consult with your dentist to determine which option is best suited to your unique needs and circumstances.