Inlays and Onlays
Your mouth naturally contains bacteria. These bacteria produce harmful acids that eat away at your tooth enamel. Regular brushing and flossing help to keep oral bacteria at bay, and eliminate the acids before they cause harm. However, when you neglect your oral health regimen or consistently miss hard to reach areas, the acids are left to erode your enamel, forming small pits (cavities). Bacteria can hide in these pits, and continue their damage from their shelter. Eventually, cavities grow and can enter the interior of your tooth, causing an infection. Fillings are a popular solution to dealing with cavities. However, there are certain areas of your mouth where cavities may not be the best solution. At National Dental Smithtown, we can fill these more difficult cavities with inlays and onlays.
What are Inlays and Onlays?
Fillings are typically the go-to treatment when it comes to cavities. However, fillings are not the best solution for all situations. Cavities on the chewing surfaces of your molars can be tricky. Placing a filling in a cavity on the chewing surface of your molar can compromise the tooth, putting it at risk of splitting or other damage. This is where inlays and onlays come in.
Inlays and onlays are a type of indirect filling. This means that they are designed, fabricated outside of the tooth, rather than the material being cured inside of the cavity. Inlays are used for cavities that affect a single cusp on your molar. Onlays, on the other hand, are used when more than one cusp has been affected. Onlays build up the structure of your molar and are sometimes referred to as partial crowns. Both inlays and onlays strengthen, rather than weaken, your tooth. They can be made from either composite resin or from porcelain, both of which blend in with the natural color of your tooth’s enamel.
How are Inlays and Onlays Placed?
The process for inlays and onlays starts similarly to traditional fillings. We start by administering a local anesthetic. Next, we clean the decay from the cavity. An impression is then taken of your mouth. This impression is used to design and create your inlay or onlay. It can take up to two weeks for your restoration to be made, so a temporary restoration is placed to protect the tooth from infection. Once your inlay or onlay is finished, you return for a second visit. During this visit, we check your restoration for fit and then cement it into place.
Benefits of Inlays and Onlays
There are several benefits associated with inlays and onlays:
If you have a cavity on the chewing surface of your molar, and a traditional filling would likely compromise the tooth, an inlay or onlay may be able to help. Call National Dental Smithtown today to schedule your appointment.