Dental Inlays & Onlays
As a conservative dentist, Dr. Dilolli always wants to choose a restorative treatment that will preserve as much natural tooth structure as possible. Sometimes a patient is presented with tooth decay or another type of damage that cannot adequately be repaired with a filling, but isn’t bad enough to require a dental crown. In this case, an inlay or onlay may be the right choice.
Dental Inlays & Onlays VS Tooth-Colored Fillings
When we place a natural colored filling, the material Dr. Dilolli uses is molded into the tooth during your office appointment. An inlay or onlay, on the other hand, is fabricated in our dental lab and then bonded to your damaged tooth. Typically, these restorations are stronger and more durable than a traditional filling, which makes them appropriate for a tooth that has more extensive decay or damage.
The difference between an inlay and onlay is actually based on the structure of teeth, specifically molars. An inlay lies within the center of the tooth; an onlay extends over one or more of the cusps, or points, of a tooth and may even cover the top of a tooth completely.
Advantages of Inlays & Onlays
Inlays and onlays are an excellent choice for a conservative restoration that retains as much healthy tooth as possible. In addition, they are an ideal solution when decay extends beyond the biting surface of a tooth and down the side into the area where you floss. When decay is that extensive, an onlay provides greater strength and support to the tooth structure than a filling, thereby increasing a tooth’s functional longevity. And if the cavity is between two teeth, then an inlay may be a better choice. An inlay provides a tighter seal than a direct composite filling, so the bacteria that more easily hide between teeth are kept out.
Aside from these restorative advantages, inlays and onlays offer a distinct cosmetic advantage, as well. Made of prefabricated porcelain, these tooth restorations will not stain or discolor.
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