Whether you need inlays or onlays depends on the location and size of the cavity and the tooth’s overall damage. Dr. Lance Porter of Portal Dental Clinic in Hot Springs explains the advantages of inlays and onlays for patients with tooth decay.
A minor cavity usually requires a filling. A deep cavity may need a crown. Dental inlays and onlays fall into a middle category, when the cavity is too big for a filling but the damage does not warrant a crown.
If the decay or damage does not affect any of the cusps, or the points on the chewing surface of the tooth, the dentist may recommend an inlay. The same holds true if the damage is such that a filling would end up weakening the remaining tooth.
Dental inlays and onlays are available in various materials, including porcelain, resin or gold. Inlays are designed to fit into the tooth groove exactly.
Onlays are used when the cavity is too large for a filling, or if one or more cusps are affected. The dentist may recommend an onlay when the tooth structure is too weak for a filling. The onlay can prevent the tooth from cracking.
Placing a crown on a tooth requires the removal of a great deal of the natural tooth structure. Onlays are a good alternative.
Dental Inlay and Onlay Procedure
The procedure for dental inlays and onlays is similar. After numbing the area with an anesthetic, the dentist drills the decay out of the tooth. A mold is made of the tooth to create a custom inlay or onlay. Meanwhile, the dentist installs a temporary inlay or onlay until the permanent one returns from the off-site dental laboratory.
The patient returns for a second appointment for inlay or onlay placement. The inlay or onlay is cemented into place.
Dental Inlay and Onlay Care
After the procedure, stick to soft foods for several days. When the inlay or onlay is temporary, avoid flossing so as to avoid dislodging it. Stay away from very hot or cold foods so you do not trigger sensitivity.
Once your inlays and onlays are permanent, care for them the way you would your natural teeth. In addition to daily brushing and flossing, that means keeping up with twice-annual dental appointments to keep your mouth and smile healthy.
Contact Porter Dental Clinic
If you would like to learn more about the benefits of dental inlays and onlays and whether you are a candidate for the procedures, schedule a personal consultation at Porter Dental Clinic. Contact our Hot Springs office and speak to a member of our team today.