Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Inlays and Onlays: What are they?

Inlays and Onlays are similar to tooth fillings as they are restorative treatments used to repair small tooth fractures, tooth decay, and other sorts of damaged surfaces of the teeth. An inlay is similar to a filling and lies within the center of a tooth. When the damaged tooth instead requires covering of one or several points of the tooth or even full coverage of the biting surface, this is described as an onlay. Benefits of Inlays and Onlays are that they are not likely to discolour over time as tooth-coloured resin fillings have a tendency to. Dental inlays are better at sealing teeth to keep out bacteria and are therefore preferred when the cavity is between the teeth as they are extremely stable and durable.
Dental inlays and onlays have the same function as traditional dental fillings, but have a more permanent result. Whereas dental fillings are molded into place during one single dental visit, inlays and onlays need at least two visits to the dentist since the material is fabricated indirectly in a dental lab before being fitted and bonded to the tooth.
An inlay is similar to a filling and lies within the center of a tooth, this is called an inlay. These are custom-made to fit the cavityand then cemented into place. When the damaged tooth instead require inclusion of one or several points of the tooth, or even full coverage of the biting surface, this is described as an onlay. An onlay is therefore a more extensive reconstruction, but will still conserve more of the tooth structure in comparison to a crown.
An inlay or onlay is usually completed within two visits to the dentist. At the first visit, the dentist examines and prepares the damaged tooth. A molded impression is then taken and sent to a dental laboratory, where the new inlay or onlay is fabricated after the measures of the impression. To protect the tooth until the next visit, a temporary inlay or onlay is created.
During the second visit, the provisional inlay is removed and the permanent inlay/onlay is placed. After making sure that the inlay/onlay is perfectly fitted, the material is bonded onto the tooth. Thereafter, the margins are polished.
The advantage with fillings are their durability in comparison to traditional fillings. Whereas fillings have been known to actually reduce the strength of a tooth by up to 50%, inlays and onlays can actually increase the strength of a tooth with up to 75%. With proper hygiene and dental care, they can last between 10 and 30 years.