Inlays & Onlays
At Cornelius Dental Clinic we believe that your dental health should be important to you. Unfortunately, when you start looking into this topic though you're faced with a lot of unfamiliar terms. One set of such terms are inlays and onlays.
Inlays, Onlays, and Traditional Fillings
These are both indirect types of dental restorations (simply put, "made in the lab") that are used to fill your cavities in the back of your mouth. They consist of one solid piece of porcelain or ceramic made to match your tooth's coloration. After being manufactured, they're fitted in your mouth. They rest inside your tooth's groves where we cement them into place. From there they will fix your chewing surface but still be invisible to everyone around you.
It's important to understand that these are different from a traditional dental filling though. This is because all the work that's done making and molding a filling is done within your mouth at our office.
Inlays and onlays are different from each other too. This is because onlays cover the cusp (the tooth's center) of your tooth, but an inlay will only fill the area between your tooth's cusps.
All three of these (fillings, inlays, and onlays) do require that we drill your cavity. That's the one thing they do have in common.
Inlays, Onlays, and Dental Crowns
Inlays are different from crowns. While a crown will cover the whole surface of your tooth, as well as any tooth structure that's above your gumline, inlays and onlays only cover the cusps of your teeth. This is one of the reasons why inlays and onlays are a popular way to provide restoration for a single tooth. However, when you're dealing with a large area of decay, there's too much of your tooth's structure missing or needing to be removed, so an inlay or an onlay is no longer a viable option. They are still preferable when possible though, mainly because they cost less money. Fortunately for those who have insurance, this isn't something you'll need to worry about.
Getting and Maintaining Inlays and Onlays
Although you'll need two appointments to get either an inlay or an onlay, the procedure is quite simple. At your first appointment, we'll make an impression of your teeth to send to the lab so they can make them. Once they're done, they'll send it to us, and we'll schedule an appointment so we can cement it in your mouth. This will return you're damaged, or decayed tooth to its original condition, only now it'll be much stronger than it was before - strong enough to last you 5-7 years whereas crowns last 10-15 years and amalgam fillings last 12 years.
You may still have much confusion regarding inlays and onlays. It would help if you weren't confused though. Instead, we want you to reach out to us at Cornelius Dental Clinic at (503) 359-0339 so that we can set up an appointment to sit down and talk to you about this procedure.