Inlays and Onlays: A Vital Restorative Dentistry Procedure By Dr. Tanner on July 30, 2015

Teeth against a background of a healthy mouthYou are probably familiar with the basic principles behind dental crowns and fillings. However, like many people, you may never have heard of inlays and onlays. This restorative dentistry option can improve the health of your molars following severe decay or other damage. Like a crown, an inlay or onlay will be custom-made to match your teeth. Dr. Tanner will make sure that your restoration maintains your natural bite alignment. Because inlays and onlays are smaller than crowns, they are a more conservative treatment option. Dr. Tanner will evaluate your tooth and the extent of your damage to determine which type of restoration is right for you. To learn more about inlays and onlays, contact our South Ogden practice today.

A Basic Introduction to Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and onlays are similar. Dr. Tanner will place one of these restorations on the flat chewing surface of your molar. An inlay will treat the small area between the cusps of your tooth. Your restoration will nestle in this space, and your dentist will perform a conservative preparatory procedure. An onlay will also address the top of your molar, but it is intended for more extensive damage. This larger restoration will cover the sharp cups and extend partway down the sides of your tooth.

Why Receive an Inlay or Onlay?

You may hear inlays or onlays referred to as “partial crowns.” These restorations perform similar functions to traditional crowns. However, due to their smaller size, they require less alteration of your teeth. Dr. Tanner may recommend an inlay or onlay if you have a cavity that is too big for a filling but not quite large enough to merit a crown. He may also place one of these restorations if you have a cracked or chipped molar.

The Fabrication and Placement Process

To determine the right type of restoration for you, Dr. Tanner will examine your tooth with our intraoral camera. If he decides that an inlay or onlay is appropriate, he will clean out bacteria and decayed material from your tooth. Then he will take impressions, which he will send to our dental lab. Technicians will design a restoration just for you. They will use advanced tooth-colored materials, including porcelain and composite. It will typically be several weeks before you receive your inlay or onlay. During this time, we will provide a temporary restoration, so you can maintain relatively normal dental function. When the inlay or onlay is finished, you will come in for a second appointment. At this time, Dr. Tanner will remove the temporary restoration and attach the permanent inlay or onlay with dental composite.

The Benefits of Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and onlays offer several important advantages.

  • As stated above, Dr. Tanner will be able to preserve more of your tooth than he could with a crown. Although our dental crowns are durable, no restoration is as strong as a natural tooth.
  • Because they are small and crafted from tooth-colored materials, inlays and onlays are virtually undetectable.
  • These restorations can prevent further damage. Without an inlay or onlay, you might otherwise require extraction, root canal therapy, or another more extensive procedure.

Find Out if One of these Restorations Is Right for You

If you have a damaged or decayed molar, an inlay or onlay may be the solution. Contact us today to learn more and schedule a consultation. 

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South Ogden Smiles

Dr. Patrick Tanner and the team at South Ogden Smiles are committed to personalized patient care and exceptional dentistry. We stand out from our competitors in the field by offering:

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