What Are Dental Inlays and Onlays and How Do You Benefit from Them?

What Are Dental Inlays and Onlays and How Do You Benefit from Them?

Feb 01, 2020

When dentists are needed to repair moderately damaged or decayed teeth they don’t just rely on fillings and crowns. They can also offer dental inlays and Onlays for patients. These restorations are made from gold, porcelain or composite materials for restorative purposes.

Dentists may offer dental inlays and Onlays when a tooth that is extensively damaged to be repaired with a filling but does not qualify for a crown. These restorations can save a healthy portion of the injured tooth and provide strength and stability for normal chewing.

A dental inlay will be placed in the center of the tooth and a dental onlay is placed on the inside and outer areas of the tooth. They are often referred to as indirect fillings or partial crowns. Dental inlays and Onlays are not expensive and a less aggressive treatment option compared to dental crowns.

The procedure for placing dental inlays or Onlays is considered safe but complications and risks can arise. It is the only method used to repair decayed or damaged teeth and therefore patients must discuss all options with their dentist to understand the treatment best suited for them.

Why Is the Procedure of Dental Inlays or Onlays Performed?

Your dentist may suggest dental inlays or Onlays for conditions as mentioned below:

Chipped or cracked teeth that cannot be repaired by dental filling but may not require extensive procedures for the repair like a root canal or dental crown.

Tooth decay occurs when the bacteria in the mouth produce acid to damage the teeth. Minor to moderate decay can always be repaired by dentists with a dental filling. However, if the decay is moderate to severe the dentist will decide to use a dental inlay or onlay or even a crown to safeguard the functionality of the tooth.

Who Can Perform This Procedure?

The following dental professionals can perform procedures of dental inlay and onlay:

  • General dentists who prevent, diagnose and treat conditions of the teeth, mouth, gums and associated structures of the jaw.
  • Pediatric dentists specialize in caring for the dental needs of children and things.
  • Prosthodontists specializing in restoring damaged teeth with crowns, bridges and other appliances.

How Is the Procedure Performed By Prosthodontists?

The procedure for the dental inlay or onlay will be performed by a professional from restorative dentistry in a dental office or clinic. The procedure can vary according to the type of tooth and inlay or onlay that may be required but generally includes the following steps.

  • You will be sitting in the dentist’s chair in a reclining position with a clear shield covering your eyes. The shield is to safeguard your eyes from liquids that are sprayed and any dental instruments.
  • A local anesthetic will be injected into your gums to numb the pain during the procedure.
  • The dentist will use a drill to remove the damaged portion of your tooth. Some parts of the tooth will also be filed down to prepare it to adhere to the materials of the inlay or onlay.
    An impression of your tooth will be taken to create a customized inlay or onlay make sure it fits correctly.
  • Some dentists have the equipment to make these restorations in the dental office and in such cases, your dentist may prepare them and place the same during the same appointment. Others send impressions to the dental laboratory that is making these restorations. In such cases, you will be provided with a temporary placement on your teeth until the permanent one is received back from the dental laboratory.
  • You will return to the dentist’s office in a few week’s time when the dentist will remove the temporary placements and place a permanent one with a strong cement. The inlay or onlay will also be polished to ensure you have a comfortable bite and the restorations will not scrap your mouth or tongue.

Is the Procedure Painful?

Your comfort and care are important to your dentist and the care team. You may feel brief pinches when the dentist administers the local anesthesia by applying a topical anesthetic for your gums before the injections. You may also feel some pressure as your dentist prepares your tooth to receive the restorations. You can take a few deep breaths and try to relax and inform your dentist if you feel any discomfort that is not passing away quickly.

Caring for a Dental Inlay or Onlay

Caring for the restorations in your mouth will not be difficult as long as you continue to brush and floss regularly and visit your dentist for six-monthly checkups without fail. When cared for properly they can last from 10 to 30 years ensuring they are a good investment as a procedure of restorative dentistry.

Meta tag. Do you have moderately damaged or decayed teeth that cannot be repaired by a filling or a dental crown and are searching for other options to correct the problem? Read this article to understand how restorative dentistry is offering you dental inlays and Onlays to restore your teeth to the normal function and also safeguard them.

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