What Are Inlays and Onlays?

By John Rink DDS on August 01, 2012

Charleston Inlays and OnlaysWe’ve all heard of cavities and most of us have even been given a dental filling to treat a cavity, but have you heard of inlays and onlays treatment? Sometimes tooth decay has gone too far to be repaired with a dental filling. Most people think that once decay has gone so far, the only other option is a dental crown. However, if you still have enough healthy tooth structure remaining, you can probably be treated with inlays or onlays. Dr. Rink, a leading Charleston cosmetic dentist, offers inlays and onlys treatment to patients who are candidates for this procedure.

So what are inlays and onlays? In simple terms, inlays and onlays are the same as fillings, only larger in size. A dental inlay lies within the cusps (or points) of your teeth and is cemented into place. An onlay is even larger than an inlay. An onlay also includes one or more of the cusps of your teeth and in some cases even cover the entire biting surface of the tooth. Inlays and onlays can be composed of several different materials. Composite resin is usually recommended as it can be used to match your teeth and blend in more naturally with the other teeth in your mouth. Inlays and onlays treatment is a long lasting restorative solution. With proper care, inlays and onlays can last for decades.

What Is the Treatment Process?

Because inlays and onlays are very similar to fillings, the process is similar as well. However, inlays and onlays are usually constructed outside of the dentist office so two appointments will be necessary. The first visit will consist of the preparation of your damaged tooth. The dentist will start by removing the decay and shaping the tooth in preparation of the inlay or onlay.  A mold will be made of the area to be treated in order to fit the inlay or onlay exactly. The dentist will usually place a temporary filling at this visit while the inlay or onlay is constructed off-site.

At your second appointment, the temporary filling will be removed and the inlay or onlay will be put in place. The dentist will then check your bite. The tooth will be shaped or smoothed further if necessary to ensure a proper fit and comfort. When you and the dentist are satisfied with the fit, the inlay or onlay will be bonded into place and polished.

The Benefits

For those patients who are candidates for inlays and onlays treatment, there are many benefits to consider.  Inlays and onlays treatment are ideal for the following reasons:

  • Conserves tooth structure
  • Easy to care for and maintain
  • Comfortable fit
  • Retains natural tooth color
  • Lasts for decades

Contact Us Today

Dr. John Rink can offer his patient in Charleston restorative dentistry options for all situations. Make an appointment today to see what Dr. Rink can do to improve the health and beauty of your smile. We are looking forward to welcoming you to our office!

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