Inlays & Onlays
Dental inlays and onlays are used in more specific ways, especially when they are compared to other restorative procedures, when the damage to a tooth does not exceed the threshold of the tooth's cusps. The cusps of a tooth are the parts of enamel, on the biting surfaces, that rise up higher than the other parts. Molars have 4-5, while canines only have 1.
When the cusps aren't compromised by decay, chipping or fracturing, an inlay or an onlay can be used to protect and strengthen the rest of the tooth. Robert J. Malone DDS fits inlays and onlays as a way to preserve as much of the natural tooth as possible.
What is the Difference Between an Inlay and an Onlay?
Inlays and onlays are used on cavities that are too large to restore the tooth via a filling but placing a crown would be too extensive a measure, and would remove a lot of healthy tooth that doesn't need to be. They are mainly used on the back teeth, that are more prone to cavities, due to their purpose of chewing food.
An inlay fills the cavity with a custom-fit material, such as gold or porcelain, that is created in a dental lab, via CAD/CAM technology, prior to its placing. This is different to a filling, which uses gutta percha to fill the cavity, which then sets after it is placed. Inlays can only be used to cover the biting surface of the tooth, between the cusps, and so is used for less extensive damage, compared to onlays.
Onlays are used when the damage to a tooth exceeds one or more of the cusps. Prior to onlays, crowns were the only solution to tooth damage this extensive. Similar to inlays, onlays are premade in a dental lab, and cemented to the tooth, restoring its strength within the oral cavity.
The placing of an inlay or onlay usually takes two appointments. We will firstly thoroughly clean the affected tooth and remove any decay that has impacted it. Once it is cleaned, and we are sure no bacteria are remaining, they will take measurements, to be sent to the dental lab. At the dental lab, they will create a custom-fit inlay or onlay to perfectly fit onto the tooth.
Until the inlay or onlay is ready, we will place a temporary one. The dental lab can take 2-3 weeks. Once the inlay or onlay is ready, we will simply remove the temporary one, and cement the new one in place. Both procedures will be done under local anaesthesia, and should take 60-90 minutes each, although it could take longer, depending on the difficulty involved in the procedure
Robert J. Malone DDS can help save more of your tooth than ever before. Inlays and onlays are an exciting way to preserve a tooth damaged by decay or fracturing, without having to replace it with a crown. If you have an impacted tooth, we can take a look and advise you on the best restorative procedure for you.
Call us now at (760) 546-5557 to schedule your next check-up.