At Hamilton Dental Designs, we do our absolute best to conserve your natural tooth. Sometimes, a dental filling can’t do the trick, but the problem isn’t severe enough for a root canal or extraction. Inlays and onlays are designed to fill that void. Dr. Jose Gil, a dentist in Allentown, PA, explains these solutions.
What are Inlays and Onlays?
When you experience severe tooth decay or trauma, a dental filling may not be enough to do the trick. The problem may also be too mild for something like a full dental crown. Inlays and onlays help to fill the void in treatment options between the mild and the extreme. The two of them take on different kinds of tooth decay so that your tooth can be saved.
What are Inlays?
Inlays are usually used to cover large surfaces on your tooth. They can either be placed on the contour or surface of the tooth when decay is too large to be taken care of with a dental filling. The inlay is custom-made to fit the area that needs to be treated. It’s color-matched to your tooth and polished to match the natural sheen. The inlay also helps to seal out any further infection.
What are Onlays?
Onlays are also commonly known as partial dental crowns and are used as a conservative alternative to a full crown. When decay forms in the upper parts of the tooth, it’s because it’s a hard area to clean. There are many small crevices for decay to hide. With an onlay, it can be customized to fit in these crevices perfectly. It helps to seal off further decay and is permanently bonded so that it’s secure.
The Process for Inlays and Onlays
Before any restorative dentistry procedure, you’ll have a consultation with Dr. Gil. He’s going to evaluate your tooth and determine which treatment option is the right one for you. If he thinks an inlay or onlay is the best choice, another appointment will be scheduled to start the process of getting your inlay or onlay.
First, the area around the impacted tooth will be numbed with a local anesthetic. If you suffer from dental fear or other conditions, sedation dentistry is also an option for you. Any decay or damaged tissue will be thoroughly removed and the area cleaned to make sure it’s completely free of any infection. When it’s clean, an impression is taken of the area so that the inlay or onlay can be custom-made.
A temporary restoration will be put in place while your final one is being made. We want to make sure the tooth doesn’t have a risk of further infection. Your final restoration is crafted in a dental laboratory with high-quality dental ceramic. It’s color-matched to that specific tooth so that it blends in naturally with the rest of your smile.
When the final restoration is ready, Dr. Gil will fit it to your tooth and make sure it’s comfortable and fits properly. If everything is good, it’ll be permanently bonded to your tooth. As long as you follow a basic oral healthcare routine of brushing, flossing, and visiting the dentist regularly, the restoration should be able to last for years to come!
Inlays and Onlays at Your Allentown, Pennsylvania Dentist
If you think your tooth may have decay or damaged tissue, don’t wait to get it looked at. Call us or schedule an appointment online to get it taken care of.