Tooth Inlays and Onlays
All of you may have heard of getting fillings or crowns to restore a damaged tooth; however, not all of you may have heard of their alternatives like inlays and onlays.
Typically, dental fillings are used to cover a small cavity and crowns are used to repair larger, deeper damage and to support the tooth. However, there are instances where a simple filling is not enough but the damage isn’t extensive enough to warrant a crown. In these cases, we at Timothy H. Kindt, DDS will offer you custom-made inlays and onlays that fill the cavity just right.
Difference Between Inlays and Onlays
In simple terms, an inlay is a lab-made dental restorative device that fills the cavities, the pits, and the hollow regions of a tooth between the cusps. The onlay serves a similar function; however, it extends to the cusps of the teeth as well and is much larger than an onlay.
Both inlays and onlays are made exactly according to the specific dimensions of the tooth, just like a crown; however, they do not cover the entirety of the visible surface of the tooth, just the area that is affected by tooth decay.
How Do Inlays and Onlays Work?
Dental inlays are fitted into the pits and fissures of a decayed tooth. These inlays are created by taking an impression of the damaged tooth and sending it to a dental lab to be fabricated. The resulting prosthetic will fit the exact contours of the chewing surface of the tooth.
Once, inlays were only available made of gold. However, these days, they are made with a larger range of material, including high-grade porcelain or composite resin. While taking an impression, Dr. Kindt and will also match the color of the inlay to your natural teeth.
Inlays are more expensive than fillings but last longer than them. Onlays are similar to inlays, though we will choose onlays if the damage extends to the cusps of the tooth and cannot be fixed with a filling or an inlay. Onlays are very effective in supporting the weakened tooth and providing them strength. They are also known as partial crowns as they work in the same way as crowns but cover only the damaged part of the tooth.
Are Inlays Better Than a Filling?
Generally, inlays are better than fillings because they can repair a larger cavity in a more effective way and last longer than fillings. Unlike amalgam fillings that expand and contract depending on the temperature, inlays do not have this problem since they are custom-made of porcelain or resin material.
However, the biggest advantage of fillings over inlays is that they can be applied in a single visit and are less expensive.
Are Onlays Better Than a Crown?
An onlay restoration is more conservative than a crown restoration. Since the crown covers the entire exposed part of the tooth, the tooth requires extensive reshaping. On the other hand, onlay is better for the overall health of the tooth since it requires shaping only parts of the tooth.
However, an onlay needs to be made precisely according to the contours of the tooth, which can be a challenge. This means that both onlays and crowns have their purpose and we can determine which one best fits your need by analyzing the health of your tooth.
How Long Do Inlays and Onlays Last?
One of the major benefits of inlays and onlays is that they are very durable and long-lasting and can last anywhere from 5 years to 30 years, depending on your level of care and the material they are made from.
That is why it is important that you make follow-up visits to ensure your inlays and onlays are stable. Additionally, you should also never miss your routine dental appointments as those can ensure your inlays and onlays are not damaged or worn out in any way.
If you are concerned about the health of your teeth, call us at (480) 939-5818 today for a consultation and we will determine whether an inlay or an onlay is the right treatment for you.