Inlays and Onlays
Cavities are one of the most common dental issues there are, affecting millions of individuals of all ages. When a cavity forms, treatment is needed right away. Without treatment, cavities only continue to grow larger. Most cavities can easily be treated with amalgam or composite resin fillings. However, there are certain situations, such as cavities on the chewing surfaces of your molars, in which these cavities can further compromise the affected tooth rather than restore its health and strength. At Rockville Centre Dentistry, we can help to treat these more difficult cavities with inlays and onlays.
Most cavities are treated with either amalgam or composite resin fillings. Amalgam fillings are made up of a mixture of metals that are suspended in liquid mercury. These fillings are incredibly strong. Composite resin fillings are made up of a mixture of plastic, fine glass, and other materials. The biggest benefits to these fillings are that they are tooth colored and that they contain no metals or mercury.
While both of these fillings are effective for most cavities, cavities on the chewing surfaces of your molars present unique problems. An amalgam filling can be driven deeper into the cavity, due to extreme chewing pressure, which can fracture or even split the tooth. A composite resin filling, on the other hand, cannot stand up to these forces. The constant pressure can cause these fillings to wear out quickly or break, leaving the tooth susceptible to infection.
What are Inlays and Onlays?
Inlays and onlays are the types of fillings used for treating cavities on the chewing surfaces of your molars. An inlay is used to treat cavities in the grooves of your teeth. Onlays, also called partial crowns, are used to treat cavities that have affected the cusps, and essentially rebuild the structure of the affected tooth. Both inlays and onlays are known as indirect fillings, meaning that they are created outside of the tooth in our dental lab rather than cured inside the tooth like a traditional filling. They can be made from a variety of materials including composite resin, gold, and porcelain.
Getting Your Inlay or Onlay
Inlays and onlays both require two separate appointments for placement. During your first appointment, we first clean the tooth and drill away the decay, not unlike preparing a tooth for a traditional filling. This is typically done under a local anesthetic, which helps to avoid discomfort. After preparing the cavity, we take an impression of the tooth and send it to our dental lab, where it is used to design and create your custom inlay or onlay.
It can take up to two weeks for your inlay or onlay to be completed. While you are waiting, a temporary filling is placed to protect your tooth and prevent infections. Once your inlay or onlay has been sent back to the office, you have your second appointment. At this appointment, we check your restoration for fit and bite and bond it into place in your tooth.
What are the Benefits of Inlays and Onlays?
Inlays and onlays provide several significant benefits, including:
With inlays and onlays, we can help to strengthen molars affected by cavities in their chewing surfaces. Call Rockville Centre Dentistry today at (516) 678-0100 to learn more and find out if an inlay or onlay is right for you.