Inlays and Onlays
Cavities are one of the most common dental issues, affecting children and adults of all ages. Most cavities are treated with either amalgam or composite fillings. These fillings are effective in many different situations. However, they may not be ideal for treating cavities affecting the chewing surfaces of your molars. ZenTech Dentistry can treat these cavities with inlays and onlays.
Traditional Treatment for Cavities
A cavity is a pit that forms in you’re the surface of your teeth as a result of tooth decay. Decay occurs when acids from plaque and bacteria linger on your teeth. These acids eat away at the enamel, leading to weak spots.
Fillings are the most common treatment used for cavities. Fillings are either amalgam or composite resin. Amalgam fillings are made up of a mixture of metals that are suspended in mercury. These fillings are incredibly strong. Composite fillings are made up of a mixture of fine glass, plastic, and other materials. They are a metal-free option that is also tooth colored. While not as strong as amalgam, composite resin can withstand most normal daily wear and tear.
What are Inlays and Onlays?
While both amalgam and composite fillings have their place, they are not always ideal. Cavities that form in the chewing surfaces of your molars present complications with both types. An amalgam filling can be driven deeper into the tooth by the strong chewing forces, which can cause the tooth to crack or split. A composite filling cannot stand up to the stronger forces at the back of the mouth and can wear down faster or break.
Inlays and onlays are two types of fillings that provide an alternative to traditional amalgam or composite fillings. Both are known as indirect fillings, meaning that they are created outside of the tooth rather than cured inside of it. Inlays and onlays are both designed to treat cavities on the chewing surfaces of your molars. Inlays are used to treat cavities in crevices of your molars, between the cusps. Onlays also referred to as partial crowns, are used for cavities that affect the cusps of the molar. They also help to rebuild the structure of the tooth. Inlays and onlays can be made from many different materials, with porcelain being one of the most popular.
Inlay and Onlay Procedure
The procedures for inlays and onlays are very similar. We begin by cleaning the tooth and drilling the decay away from the cavity. This process is done under a local anesthetic to ensure your comfort. After the decay is removed, we take an impression of the tooth. This impression is sent to our dental lab. The lab uses the impression to design and fabricate your custom inlay or onlay. It can take up to two weeks for the inlay or onlay to be finished, so a temporary filling is placed. Once the restoration is finished, we check it for fit and to ensure your bite is natural and comfortable before bonding it into place inside of the cavity.
Benefits of Inlays and Onlays
Inlays and onlays provide many benefits. These include:
Both inlays and onlays are effective treatments for cavities affecting the chewing surfaces of your molars where traditional cavities may cause further harm. For more information on inlays and onlays, and to find out if they are the right solution for you, call ZenTech Dentistry at (503) 765-9699 today.