Inlays & Onlays
Dental inlays and onlays, also known as indirect fillings, are dental restorations used for mild to moderate decay and damage. An inlay or onlay is often needed when a filling isn’t sufficient enough yet there is still enough healthy tooth remaining to avoid needing a dental crown. Fairhope dentist, Dr. Ted Melton, will do a thorough examination of your tooth to determine the level of decay that has taken place and proceed with the best course of treatment.
What Are Inlays & Onlays?
A dental inlay fits in the top cusps of the tooth where an onlay extends over the cusps of the tooth and is a bit more extensive. There are gold inlays/onlays, ceramic inlays/onlays and resin inlays/onlays. Gold was the traditional material used but due to strength and matching tooth color, ceramic has become a very popular choice. Onlays can be a conservative approach to dental crowns saving time and money when appropriate.
Inlays & Onlays Procedure
Inlays and onlays are typically a two visit procedure, whereas a dental filling is molded to the tooth during the visit.
The filling, decay and/or damage is removed from the tooth and the dentist will use a putty to take an impression. Local anesthesia is often used during this step. This impression is then sent to a lab where the new inlay or onlay is fabricated into either gold, ceramic or a resin material. While the impression is at the lab your dentist will place a temporary restoration to protect your tooth from further decay and damage.
During the next dental visit the inlay or onlay will be bonded to the tooth. The temporary restoration is removed and the inlay or onlay is placed on the tooth to make sure it is a smooth, snug fit. Our doctors will also make sure no occlusion issues are taking place before bonding. Once our dentist deems the restoration satisfactory, it is bonded and polished. If you are needing a dental onlay procedure, know they are a bit more extensive than an inlay procedure. If you believe you are in need of dental inlays and onlays in Fairhope, consult the cosmetic dental office of Fairhope Cosmetic Dentistry.