looking for a cosmetic treatment to repair posterior teeth with mild-to-moderate decay? Read about how the repairs can be managed appropriately by inlays and Onlays by allowing dentists to conserve more of your tooth structure. Skip to main content
Embracing her smile after getting crown treatment

Dental Inlays and Onlays Can Repair Teeth That Do Not Need a Crown

Many people need cosmetic treatment for repairing rear teeth that have mild to moderate decay. The teeth may be cracked or fractured but insufficiently damaged to be restored with crowns. Such cases can be adequately managed by inlays and onlays that work as restorations to help people with their problems.

Suitable candidates for this cosmetic treatment are individuals that have too much damage or decay in the structure of the tooth to be successfully treated by using dental fillings because they have healthy teeth remaining in their mouths to prevent the need for a crown. Inlays and onlays allow dentists to conserve more of the patient’s original tooth structure.

The Benefits of Dental Inlays and Onlays

When compared to conventional metal fillings, inlays and onlays have a set of benefits that will be appreciated by the patient.

  • These restorations are durable because they are made from hard-wearing materials that are tough and can last up to 30 years.
  • They help to strengthen the teeth by approximately 75 percent, which is in stark contrast with conventional metal fillings that can reduce the strength of the teeth by approximately 50 percent.
  • The life of the tooth is prolonged by inlays and onlays, preventing the need for additional dental treatment in the future.

When Are Inlays and Onlays Used?

On many occasions, old fillings need to be removed or replaced, and in such cases, the dentist suggests the use of dental inlays and onlays. Dental inlays are similar to a filling and fit inside the tip of the cusp of the top edges of the tooth. Dental onlays are more extensive and extend over the cusps of the tooth that has received treatment.

The dentist removes the old fillings during the treatment by administering local anesthesia to take an impression of the tooth. The impression is sent to the dental laboratory for making the inlay or onlay using materials like porcelain, composite resin, or gold. The patient will be requested to schedule another appointment when the inlay or onlay is bonded into place. These restorations blend successfully with the treated tooth along with the other teeth in the mouth to provide the patient with a natural and uniform appearance.

What Is the Procedure for Getting Inlays or Onlays?

Two appointments will be required for the treatment with inlays and onlays to be completed and finally be cemented to the damaged area of the tooth.

The procedure for inlays and onlays is similar, and during the first appointment, the dentist will begin the procedure by numbing the target area with a local anesthetic. Decay or damage noticed will be removed by drilling, which helps to clean and prepare the tooth for the inlay or onlay.

After preparing the damaged tooth for the restoration, the dentist will use a small tray filled with dental putty for taking an impression. The impression is dispatched to the dental laboratory where dental inlays and onlays will be developed to exactly match the damaged tooth. Care will be taken to ensure they are made from porcelain, which closely resembles the natural tooth. However, they can also be made from composite resin material and gold. The dentist will provide the patient with a temporary restoration as the inlay or onlay is being developed in the dental laboratory to protect the tooth until the second appointment.

What Happens during the Second Appointment?

During the second appointment, the dentist will remove the temporary restoration and verify whether the inlay or onlay fits appropriately. The dentist will cement the restorations to the tooth only after he or she is fully satisfied with the development of the laboratory. A resin adhesive that is strong will be used for bonding the restorations. Finally, the dentist will polish the tooth to provide an aesthetically pleasing appearance to complete the treatment.

How Much Time Is Needed for This Procedure?

Every visit to the dentist for getting inlays or onlays will require about an hour. The first appointment will be slightly longer because the dentist will spend time to prepare the tooth. Some discomfort can be expected after the procedure as the new surface of the tooth may seem out of place. However, patients will soon overcome the problem of the new tooth surface, and it looks in their mouths. The tissue around the treated tooth may feel sore or sensitive, but the problem should subside within a day or two. Uncomfortable patients can take over-the-counter pain medication to find relief from the symptoms.

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