Inlays and onlays can help to protect any of your rear teeth that have sustained decay or damage by restoring their functionality and strength. Crafted from porcelain or resin colored to match your natural teeth, these dental restorations will blend in and can seal cracks, chips and cavities. For patients of Maplewood and St. Paul, inlays and onlays are an excellent solution for initially treating cusp damage. They’re also an aesthetically pleasing and popular choice for patients of Henrickson Dental, in lieu of metal fillings.
Inlays can be made from metal – often gold because of its hypoallergenic properties – or from ceramic materials like porcelain. Some inlays are even made out of composite resins. Overall, a well-made inlay can last as long as 10 years or even longer, provided you practice good dental hygiene; however, some materials such as resin or certain ceramics can crack over time, which will necessitate a replacement.
Designed specifically for the treatment of decay found in the top portion of rear teeth known as the cusp, inlays are typically placed over two visits to the dentist office. During your initial visit, any tooth decay is removed before your dentist takes an impression of the tooth in question; this is in order to create a custom-fitted inlay at a dental laboratory. During your first visit, you will also receive a temporary inlay to seal off the tooth until your second appointment, where the permanent inlay is set in place through the use of dental cement in order to create a permanent bond.
However, you may not need to have two separate dentist appointments to receive your final dental inlay. Many dental health practitioners make use of the CEREC® system, which allows inlays to be crafted in the office while you wait in your chair. The porcelain inlays created by CEREC’s CAD-CAM process are as durable as they are inconspicuous, making it easy for you to begin using your newly restored tooth quickly, letting you get back to the business of living your life like someone with intact natural teeth.
Similar to dental inlays and placed in almost an identical manner, dental onlays are different in that they are meant to correct decay or damage that goes over the top projection or cusp of your rear tooth. A dental onlay can be used as an alternative to a dental crown in many cases, and has benefits in that in preserves more of the original tooth material while also providing an alternative solution that requires less invasive methods.
First, the decayed material is removed from your tooth – much in the way it is in preparation for a dental inlay – your dentist takes an impression of your tooth in order to provide a mold for creating a custom onlay. Also, much like with inlays, dental onlays can be created with a CEREC machine as well – making it easy to have your dental restoration completed while you’re still in the office and obviating the need for a follow-up appointment. Sometimes a CEREC machine can complete a dental onlay in just an hour, milling the restoration out of the same porcelain material as an inlay.
If you have more questions about dental inlays or dental onlays and you live in the Maplewood or St. Paul area, feel free to schedule an appointment with either Dr. Mike Henrickson or Dr. Sheryl Tandon to learn more about dental restorations or how our CEREC machine works. Call us today at (651) 777-8900 or use our online form.
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