Dr. James Rink uses tooth-colored inlays and onlays made from porcelain to provide a natural-looking restoration following treatment for damage or decay to posterior teeth. Inlays and onlays can also be used as a replacement for metal fillings. Dr. Rink recommends inlays and onlays when a filling cannot adequately restore a tooth, but the extent of damage does not warrant a dental crown. If you would like to learn more about how Dr. Rink can use inlays and onlays to restore your teeth at his Charleston, SC-area practice, schedule a consultation today.
Inlays are used following treatment for dental decay or damage to restore the tooth structure between the cusps, or pointy edges. Onlays are used to restore this area as well as one or more cusps. They can also replace old or damaged metal fillings in order to create a more natural look. Inlays and onlays strengthen and protect damaged teeth to prevent the need for more extensive treatment. Unlike traditional fillings, tooth-colored inlays and onlays do not expand or contract with changes in temperature. This expansion and contraction can lead to weakening or fracturing of the teeth. Another benefit of inlays and onlays is that Dr. Rink is able to preserve a significant portion of the patient's natural tooth structure. Inlays and onlays are customized to fit your tooth like a puzzle piece after weakened tissue has been removed. Restored teeth can be brushed and flossed like you normally would. These restorations are durable and stain resistant, so you can expect them to provide function and aesthetics for many years.
Placing inlays and onlays is usually a two-step process. However, Dr. Rink often uses CEREC® technology to create and place inlays and onlays in a single visit. Dr. Rink first treats the affected tooth by removing unhealthy portions. He then takes a 3-D digital impression of the tooth. The impression guides a computerized milling machine as it carves the restoration out of a ceramic block chosen to match the color of your tooth. Once the inlay or onlay is produced, Dr. Rink places it on the tooth, and uses dental cement to secure it in place. Lastly, he will make any necessary refinements to achieve proper balance in your bite.
In some cases, decay or dental trauma compromises a posterior tooth to a degree that a dental filling cannot repair it. In this case, you may be a candidate for an inlay or onlay. Patients with severe damage or decay may require a more extensive treatment plan that could include a root canal, crown, bridge, or implant. During a consultation, Dr. Rink will determine which treatment is best for you.
Dr. Rink will fully explain the benefits of using inlays and onlays as part of the restoration process. If you have suffered dental trauma, or if you are experiencing symptoms of tooth decay, please contact our office today.