Inlays & Onlays
If you have tooth decay, you are probably considering a crown or filling to fill the cavity.
Fillings cover small cavities, while crowns are useful for deeper cavities.
Depending on how soon we discover your cavity, a filling may not be enough, and a dental crown may be too much for dental decay, in which case you should consider inlays and onlays.
At Timothy H. Kindt, DDS , our team can guide you on getting dental inlays or onlays depending on your tooth cavity.
Difference Between Inlays and Onlays
Tooth decay can occur on different parts of the tooth, and inlays and onlays can fill the gaps depending on the locations.
An inlay fills cavities between the cusps, while an onlay fills these spaces and covers larger areas such as the cusps.
Types of Inlays and Onlays
Common dental inlays and onlays include metal and ceramic materials.
Metal inlays and onlays are made of several materials, with metal alloy being common. Gold and silver amalgam inlays have been increasing in popularity over the years. The gold inlay and onlay is an alloy of copper, gold, and other metals; hence, not 100% gold.
The advantages of gold as an inlay or onlay include strength and durability of up to 15 years, given its resistance to chewing force. Most people who opt for gold inlays are attracted to the aesthetics, but some do not find them attractive.
Silver amalgam is an alloy of silver, mercury, and tin. While it contains mercury, it is still safe to use as an inlay or onlay.
Zirconia inlays and metal inlays are becoming popular because of their strength and longevity. These inlays last up to five years, and installation requires a single appointment. The material is non-allergic and unlikely to produce immune reactions.
Ceramic inlays and onlays provide an aesthetic option to metal inlays as their color matches that of natural teeth.
Our team will custom-make these inlays for you to ensure a close match with your natural teeth.
The most common type of ceramic inlays are porcelain inlays and onlays. Porcelain inlays and onlays have a natural look and are affordable. They are also durable and do not provoke allergic reactions.
With the above types of inlays and onlays sharing common features such as strength and durability, our team will guide you on the best option. Still, it may boil down to the amount you are willing to incur for your restorative procedure, in which case, the gold inlays or onlays are the most expensive.
How Long Do Inlays and Onlays Last?
Inlays and onlays are durable, depending on the material. Your inlay can last up to 20 years, but this is subject to factors including your approach to your dental hygiene. Good dental hygiene along with regular cleanings and exams will prolong the span of your inlays and onlays.
Patients with teeth grinding will have shorter spans with their inlays and onlays, and seeking night guards and other teeth grinding solutions is helpful to increase durability.
Patients with inlays should also minimize chewy and hard food. Hard foods can crack the material, while chewy foods will stick to the inlays, causing the bonds to loosen. While your inlays and onlays can last for years, how well you care for your oral health and the inlays impact this duration.
Who Is the Best Candidate for Inlays or Onlays?
If you have a greater degree of tooth cavities than what traditional fillings can support, then you are an ideal candidate for inlays or onlays.
Still, there should be significant tooth structure to support dental restorations. As a good candidate, you should also commit to practicing good oral hygiene for maximum durability of your inlays and onlays.
What to Expect During a Dental Inlay or Onlay Procedure
The inlay and onlay restorative procedure is very similar.
You will make at least two trips to our offices. At the initial appointment, our team will examine your tooth and the extent of damage, after which they will tell if it's possible to have an inlays or onlays procedure and suggest an alternative, such as a crown for severely damaged teeth.
Upon establishing whether to place inlays or onlays, we will help you decide on the material. The procedure starts by numbing the area with local anesthesia. We remove the decayed part using a drill and prepare the tooth for the inlay or onlay.
We will prepare an impression from the tooth to ensure the inlay or onlay fits perfectly into the section.
Next, we will temporarily restore the tooth to protect it as we make a new structure in the laboratory for bonding with your tooth. You will stay with the temporary restoration for about two weeks, after which the inlay or onlay will be ready.
We will prepare the new tooth surface using your chosen material from the impression.
During your next visit, we plan to remove the temporary restoration, clean the surface and prepare your tooth for the new structure. We will place the new restoration and ensure a correct fit that does not alter your bite.
Upon approval that the fit is good, we will use a special bonding or cement to attach the inlay or onlay to the tooth. We will then polish the bonded tooth and structure.
What to Expect After Your Inlay or Onlay Procedure
Like any other procedure, you may experience mild discomfort with inlays or onlays. Over time, you will adapt to these surfaces as your new chewing surfaces. The tissues around the inlay or onlay may also feel sensitive to cold or hot foods, but the sensitivity will fade in a few days.
Request an Inlay or Onlay Appointment with Your Mesa, AZ Dentist Today!
Inlays and onlays are effective dental restorations for tooth decay and will last you years with proper care. If you have a tooth cavity, why not visit us to determine whether inlays or onlays are the best fit? Whichever option befits you, we are here to restore your smile and tooth functions. Reach out to us at Timothy H. Kindt, DDS today at (480) 939-5818 and we will schedule an appointment for you.