In the world of dentistry, tooth decay and cavities are some of the most common ailments when it comes to oral health. There are several ways a cavity can be repaired after drilling the cavity to remove the decayed area. One of the most cost effective ways to repair the space is with a standard direct filling made of a composite. But as with many things in life, you get what you pay for and metal fillings are no exception. Inlays and onlays on the other hand are an investment in restoration that are well worth the money. Just what are inlays and onlays, anyway?
Where can an inlay or onlay be used?
Used on the rear teeth in the back of the mouth on the grinding surface of the crown. They are used in the reparation of mildly to moderately decayed areas and last a long time.
When should someone use an inlay or onlay?
They come into play when the tooth is healthy enough to not require a crown replacement, but a filling won’t preserve the remaining healthy tooth enough. Our downtown Vancouver dentist can also use them when an old filling is in need of repair or replacement. The old filling is removed and an impression of the tooth is made to create the inlay or onlay. Minor surface imperfections such as chips, cracks and fractures are easily repaired with the inlay or onlay.
What are some of the benefits of inlays and onlays?
- Inlays and onlays conserve the original tooth.
- Inlays and onlays strengthen the tooth, as opposed to fillings which can weaken the original tooth.
- Inlays and onlays can extend the tooth life which can eliminate the need for future treatments because they have little negative impact on the natural tooth.
- Inlays and onlays are strong and can last significantly longer than a standard filling due to their durability.
- Recurrent decay is minimized due to the margin of tooth to restoration being less than that of a standard composite filling, leaving less space for bacteria to get into the tooth and cause damage.
What is the difference between an inlay and an onlay?
Inlays: As the name indicates, inlays fit in the top edges of the tooth, called the cusp tips. It is similar to a filling.
Onlays: Onlays work similar to inlays, but they extend further down the tooth over the tips .
How do I know if inlays or onlays are the right procedure for me?
It’s important to talk to your dental professional to help you determine what the best option is when you have a tooth in need of restoration. If you have a filling in need of replacement, or have experienced a filling that has fallen out repeatedly, it may be time to upgrade to an inlay or onlay, depending on the severity of the decay and damage. While they can be expensive, their durability, longevity, and preservation of the natural tooth make them a great solution to many dental issues.