Inlays & Onlays
When you get a cavity, you may think that the only treatment available is a filling. While fillings can treat many cavities, there are some situations in which this treatment may not be the best solution. Fortunately, there are other options. At Fern Creek Dentistry, we can provide other solutions, including inlays and onlays.
What Types of Cavities Do Inlays and Onlays Treat?
Inlays and onlays are two types of fillings that are known as indirect fillings. Instead of filling the cavity with a soft, malleable material, it is filled with an already made restoration that is made using an impression of your tooth after the decay has been removed. They are frequently made from a porcelain or ceramic material, which means that your filling blends in with the rest of the tooth, not unlike a composite filling. In some cases, inlays or onlays may also be made from gold or metal. Both of these types of fillings are typically used for treating cavities on the chewing surfaces of the molars, where traditional fillings might fail.
Why are Inlays and Onlays Recommended?
Inlays and onlays may be recommended in cases where placing a traditional filling would put the tooth at risk for further harm. This is a big risk when dealing with cavities on the tops of your molars. Chewing pressures are greater at the back of the mouth, and your molars, particularly their tops, take the brunt of it. While amalgam is strong, this could work against your tooth in these situations. The force of chewing could potentially force the hardened filling deeper into the tooth. A composite filling may not be strong enough to stand up to these pressures and can wind up wearing out much more quickly.
What is the Difference Between Inlays and Onlays?
You often hear inlays and onlays mentioned together, but they are two different types of indirect fillings that are used in different situations. An inlay is used for treating the cavities that have developed in the crevices of your molars. Onlays may be recommended for dealing with cavities that have affected the cusps of your molars. These types of fillings can sometimes be called partial crowns. They help to protect the tooth and rebuild some of its structure. It does not encase the whole tooth, and it is much less invasive than a regular crown. Both types of fillings help to restore the strength of the tooth in addition to restoring its health.
What if I Have a More Significant Amount of Decay?
While onlays, in particular, may be used to treat larger amounts of decay, too much decay may not be treatable with this solution. In cases of significant decay, you may be told that you need a dental crown. If your tooth is not strong enough to hold either an onlay or a crown, an extraction followed by tooth replacement may then be suggested.
Inlays and onlays can provide a more effective solution than fillings in certain situations, helping to restore a tooth affected by a cavity. For more information, call Fern Creek Dentistry at (704) 380-9555 today.