Inlays and onlays are a great option for patients who prefer a conservative approach to treating dental decay. This technique is perfect for a tooth whose damage or decay is too extensive to be treated with a regular filling, but has not yet progressed to the point where a crown would be required.
During an inlay or onlay procedure, Dr. Añonuevo places one of these small restorations over the affected area of the tooth to strengthen it and prolong its life. Inlays are placed inside the tooth’s raised edges, known as cusps. Onlays are larger and can extend over one or more cusps.
Inlays and onlays allow your dentist to conserve as much natural tooth structure as possible while restoring optimal strength. The restorations are made of a resilient material that looks just like your natural tooth enamel and provides a strong, even chewing surface. Once this durable cover is in place, it strengthens and protects the tooth against further damage.
It typically takes two appointments to design and place inlays or onlays. As a first step, Dr. Añonuevo will remove any decay or damage from the tooth and it will be disinfected, cleaned and prepared for restoration. Impressions will be taken of the damaged tooth and sent to a dental laboratory to create the natural-looking inlay or onlay.
The tooth will be given a temporary protective covering as the lab fabricates the permanent restoration. When the final inlay or onlay is ready, your dentist will remove the temporary cover and fit the new one over the tooth. Dr. Añonuevo will then check for its fit against your bite, bond it into place and polish it to a bright, white shine.
Inlays and onlays can also be used to replace old metal fillings. The process used is similar to that used for first-time decay or damage. The old filling is removed from the tooth and impressions are made for use by the dental laboratory. Once the inlay or onlay is ready, Dr. Añonuevo bonds it into place with special cement.
There may be a period of adjustment as you get used to your new inlay or onlay. You might notice the tooth surface feels different. It is also common to experience slight sensitivity or soreness around the treated tooth. These sensations are temporary.
To care for your new inlay or onlay, brush and floss your teeth regularly and visit our office at least twice a year to have your restoration checked. Avoid habits that are bad for any tooth, such as biting or chewing on hard objects or grinding your teeth.
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.