Inlays and onlays are one of dentistry’s best kept secrets. Its ambiguous place on the spectrum of dental techniques can also leave an observer guessing: It’s neither a traditional dental filling nor a crown. Rather, it’s an affordable option that straddles a middle ground, ideal for treating serious decay that has not yet reached the stage where a crown would be necessary.
Each of these small restorations covers areas of decay, shielding the drilled and disinfected cavity from future infection, while adding stability to the tooth. The terms are location-specific, with inlay referring to a restoration that is placed inside a tooth’s cusp, and the larger onlay restoration placed on top of one or more teeth.
The resilient inlays and onlays are made of strong composite material that blends in with your natural enamel. The smooth, even surfaces allow normal function, such as chewing, and feel perfectly at home in your mouth. An added benefit is that less of your tooth structure needs to be removed when treating a cavity with an inlay or onlay.
Because these restorations must be designed for each patient, the process involves two visits to the dental office. A special laboratory creates your customized inlay or onlay using impressions taken by Dr. Añonuevo. In the interim between the initial treatment of your cavity and the application of an inlay or onlay, the tooth will be secured with a temporary protective cover. When your restoration arrives, Dr. Añonuevo will bond it to the tooth, check for comfort and its impact on your bite and polish the surface for optimal fit and appearance.
Some patients opt for inlays and onlays to replace older metal fillings with heavy concentrations of mercury. This adds only a single step to the process: the removal of the filling and cleaning of the resulting void.
Once in place, your new restoration fades into the background in every respect — blending with the color of your enamel, matching the texture of tooth surfaces, and feeling perfectly natural in your mouth. You may at first experience some heightened tooth sensitivity, but this will be temporary. Inlays and onlays require no special treatment. Brush and floss as you normally would, avoid poor lifestyle choices such as grinding your teeth or eating hard foods and remember to visit our office for regular exams.
If you would like to discuss your specific dental needs with a respected, trustworthy dentist in Charlotte, we invite you to book a consultation with Dr. Añonuevo. Please call or email Inspire Dentistry of the Carolinas today to make your appointment.