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Understanding Dental Inlays and Onlays: What Are They and When Are They Used?

When it comes to maintaining optimal oral health, dental procedures such as fillings and crowns are commonly used to address cavities or damaged teeth. However, there are other restorative options available, such as dental inlays and onlays.

What Are Dental Inlays and When Are They Used?

Dental inlays are a type of restoration that is used to repair teeth that have moderate decay or damage. They are typically made from materials such as porcelain, gold, or composite resin, which are custom-made to fit perfectly into the prepared cavity of the tooth. Dental inlays are a conservative treatment option as they preserve more of the natural tooth structure compared to traditional fillings.

Dental inlays are commonly used when the decay or damage to the tooth is too extensive for a filling, but not severe enough to require a crown. They are an ideal option for teeth that have decay or damage within the cusps (the raised areas on the surface of the tooth) or in between the cusps. Dental inlays provide a strong and long-lasting restoration that can effectively restore the function and appearance of the tooth.

The benefits of dental inlays include their durability, natural appearance, and ability to strengthen the tooth structure. The custom-made nature of dental inlays ensures a precise fit, which helps to prevent further decay or damage to the tooth. Additionally, the materials used for dental inlays are resistant to staining, allowing for a natural and aesthetically pleasing restoration.

Understanding Onlays and When They Are Necessary

Dental onlays, similar to inlays, are restorations used to repair teeth with moderate to severe decay or damage. The main difference between onlays and inlays is that onlays not only cover the area within the cusps but also extend over one or more of the cusps. This makes onlays a suitable option for teeth with more extensive damage that requires additional support.

Like dental inlays, dental onlays are custom-made to fit precisely within the prepared cavity of the tooth. They can be made from materials such as porcelain, gold, or composite resin. Dental onlays provide a strong and durable restoration that restores the tooth's function and appearance while preserving as much natural tooth structure as possible.

The benefits of dental onlays are similar to those of dental inlays. They offer a natural appearance, durability, and strength to the tooth structure. Additionally, dental onlays provide additional support to the damaged tooth, preventing further decay or damage. Their custom-made nature ensures a perfect fit, promoting optimal oral health.

The Dental Inlay and Onlay Procedure

The dental inlay and onlay procedure typically require two appointments. During the first appointment, the dentist will prepare the tooth by removing any decay or damage. An impression of the tooth will be taken to create a custom-made inlay or onlay in a dental laboratory. While the permanent restoration is being fabricated, a temporary filling or restoration will be placed to protect the tooth.

During the second appointment, the temporary restoration will be removed, and the custom-made inlay or onlay will be carefully placed onto the tooth. The dentist will ensure a proper fit and make any necessary adjustments before permanently bonding the restoration to the tooth. Once the inlay or onlay is securely in place, the dentist will polish it to match the natural shine of the surrounding teeth.

Schedule Your Consultation with Seale Family Dentistry Today

Dental inlays and onlays are valuable restorative options that offer numerous benefits for oral health. If you have teeth with moderate decay or damage, it is essential to consult with a dentist to determine the most suitable restorative option. Dental inlays and onlays can provide the strength, durability, and aesthetic appeal needed to restore the function and appearance of your teeth. Take the first step towards optimal oral health by considering dental inlays and onlays as a viable treatment option.

Schedule an appointment with our dentist to learn more about dental inlays and onlays and how they can benefit your oral health, visit Seale Family Dentistry at our office in Lake Charles, Louisiana, or call (337) 474-0212 to book an appointment today.