A Basic Guide to Dental Inlays & Onlays

A Basic Guide to Dental Inlays & Onlays

Sep 01, 2021

When your tooth is broken, chipped, or decayed, your dentist may recommend several treatment options. Dental crowns, bonding, fillings, inlays & onlays, and veneers are some of the most common procedures for damaged teeth. For minor teeth damage, a dentist is likely to use a filling to repair the tooth. 

However, if the tooth is too impaired to repair with a dental filling but doesn’t require a crown, dental inlays and onlays are ideal. Inlays and onlays repair the healthy portion of an injured tooth, restoring its strength and stability. An inlay is fitted in the center of a tooth, while an onlay is placed on the inside, outside, or points of a tooth. 

Dental inlays and onlays are generally considered safe, with very few risks and potential complications. If you’re considering this treatment, please visit your dentist for an examination. The dentist will review the condition of your tooth and advise on the best course of action. 

Dental Inlays and Onlays Procedure

If your dentist has examined and approved you for the treatment, you’ll be scheduled for the main procedure. It’s worth noting that the procedure may vary based on the type of tooth injury and material used to repair the tooth. 

A general procedure involves the following steps:

  • The dentist will request you to sit on the dentist’s chair and give you a clear shield to cover your eyes. The shield protects the eyes from dental instruments and spraying liquids. 
  • The dentist then numbs the area around the damaged tooth with a local anesthetic. 
  • The dentist then drills into the tooth to remove the damaged part. The tooth is also filled down at certain parts to make it easier to bond with the inlay or onlay material.
  • The dentist then takes an impression/mold of the tooth to make a customized inlay or onlay. If the dentist has the equipment to create inlays and onlays, they will be made right there and placed on the same appointment. 
  • If the dentist doesn’t have the equipment, the molds are sent to the lab to make the inlays and onlays. In such a situation, the dentist cements a temporary inlay or onlay in the tooth as you wait for the permanent ones. It may take about two weeks. 
  • Once the permanent inlay or/and onlay is ready, you’ll return to the dentist’s office. The dentist will remove the temporary onlay or inlay and replace it with the permanent one.
  • The inlay and onlay are cemented with a stronger cement, smoothened, and polished to ensure a comfortable fit. 

Is the Treatment Painful? 

Not really. During the procedure, you’ll be numbed to prevent pain. However, it’s normal to experience minimal pain, sensitivity, or discomfort after the anesthetic wears off. Your dentist will prescribe the necessary medication for pain. Alternatively, you can use a cold compress. 

 

Types of Dental Inlays and Onlays 

Depending on your preferences or tooth damage, you can use either of the following types of inlays or onlays:

  • Composite Resin 

They are commonly used to fill large cavities that can’t be repaired with traditional fillings. Composite inlays and onlays are strong, durable, and less prone to fractures. Thanks to their tooth-looking color, they blend well with natural teeth. 

  • Ceramic 

These inlays or onlays are made from porcelain. Porcelain is strong, durable, stain-resistance, and mimics the color of the natural teeth, making it a perfect restoration option. 

  • Gold 

If you’re more interested in strength rather than aesthetics, gold is a perfect option. Gold inlays and onlays are strong, durable, and perfect for back teeth restorations. The only downside is they are way expensive than other restorations. 

Caring for Your Dental Inlays and Onlays

Caring for your inlays or onlays will ensure that they serve longer. After the procedure, maintain proper dental practices and care. These include:

  • Avoid biting down or chewing hard foods. This will prevent the inlays or onlays from breaking or fracturing. 
  • Inform the dentist immediately if something doesn’t feel right with the inlay or onlay.
  • Brush and floss daily.
  • Schedule regular dental exams and cleanings.
  • Avoid hot or cold beverages to prevent sensitivity.

Schedule an Appointment Today

Are you interested in an inlays & onlays treatment procedure, or would you like to learn more about inlays & onlays services? Contact Andover Cosmetic Dental Group to speak with a specialist.

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