Inlays and onlays are indirect fillings that fit into the cusps or bumps on the chewing surface of molars. They differ from traditional fillings in that they are made in a laboratory to be custom-fitted to the tooth and bonded in place by the dentist. Inlays and onlays are more conservative than dental crowns and preserve more of the natural tooth structure.
At Bo Macdonald DDS Dentistry, we use inlays and onlays made from solid porcelain and recommend them as an excellent restorative option for patients with mild to moderate tooth decay. An inlay is used when the patient has decay limited to the tooth's center; an onlay is used to treat decay that has damaged a larger area of the tooth.
The Procedure for Inlays and Onlays
The procedure for placing an inlay or onlay is similar to receiving a dental crown. The dentist will shape the tooth during the first appointment and make an impression. The impression is then sent to a lab, where a technician will create a custom-made restoration.
In the meantime, the dentist will place a temporary inlay or onlay over the tooth to protect it from further damage. During the second visit, the temporary restoration is removed, and the permanent one is bonded into place. Once in place, the inlay or onlay will be virtually indistinguishable from the rest of the tooth.
This treatment is an excellent choice for patients with cavities affecting the biting surfaces of their teeth that are not severe enough to require a dental crown. It is also a perfect choice for patients sensitive to metal, as inlays and onlays do not contain any metals.
The Advantages of Inlays and Onlays
Inlays and onlays provide a robust and stable solution for replacing damaged teeth. They are typically made from porcelain or composite material and are more conservative than dental crowns.
Unlike dental crowns, inlays and onlays aren’t placed over the tooth’s entire surface. Instead, they are created to fit the cusps of your tooth. Because of this, they can protect and strengthen your teeth and improve your smile’s appearance.
Their conservative approach makes inlays and onlays ideal for preserving as much natural tooth structure as possible while still treating decay or other damage to a tooth. As a result, patients can often keep more of their healthy tooth structure when getting an inlay or onlay than getting a dental crown.
For patients seeking a conservative alternative to crowns, inlays or onlays may be ideal. For the best dental care tailored to your specific needs, visit Bo Macdonald DDS Dentistry at 11340 W Olympic Blvd #148, Los Angeles, CA 90064, or call (310) 479-4459.