A Basic Guide to Dental Inlays and Onlays

A Basic Guide to Dental Inlays and Onlays

Dec 01, 2021

Thanks to restorative dentistry, you can repair a damaged tooth and restore the aesthetics and bite function.

When the damage is complex or severe, a dental crown is an ideal solution. If the damage is minor to average, a dental inlay or onlay is recommended.

When well installed, inlays and onlays save the healthy portion of the injured tooth by enhancing its strength, appearance, and stability.

An inlay is placed in the grooves at the inside portion of the tooth. An onlay is used to repair more extensive damage. They are placed at points or inside or outside of the tooth.

If your dentist has suggested getting an inlay or onlay, knowing what to expect during the procedure will help you prepare.

If you’re considering dental inlays or onlays, you should begin by visiting a dentist near you for an exam. The dentist will inspect the damage to your tooth and advise you accordingly.

Dental Inlays and Onlays Procedure

Generally, placing an inlay or onlay is quite easy and safe. Depending on the type of damage and inlay or onlay used, the procedure typically involves:

  • The dentist will ask you to sit in the chair and give you a clear shield to cover your eyes.
  • Next, the dentist injects a local anesthetic into the area around the affected tooth. This keeps you relaxed and pain-free during the procedure.
  • The dentist then drills through the tooth and removes the damaged parts of the tooth. Minimal shaving may be necessary to allow the inlay or onlay to stick easily.
  • Next, the dentist takes impressions and images of your teeth and mouth. These records are sent to a dental lab to make a customized inlay or onlay. In the meantime, a temporary inlay or onlay is cemented on the tooth to protect the prepared tooth.
  • If the dentist has the equipment to make inlays and onlays, they will be made right there in the office and placed on the same appointment.
  • You’ll return to the office once the permanent inlay or onlay is ready. The dentist removes the temporary restoration and cements the permanent one with a stronger dental cement.
  • Lastly, the dentist then smoothens and polishes up the inlay and onlay to ensure a perfect and comfortable fit.

Types of dental inlays and onlays

Dental onlays and inlays can be made from a variety of materials. Keep in mind that each material has pros and cons. For instance, some materials are suitable for front tooth restorations while others are suited for complex and molar restorations. These materials include:

  • Porcelain

It’s the most popular option for repairing damaged teeth. Thanks to their tooth-looking shade or color, inlays, and onlays made of porcelain look like natural teeth.

Apart from the great aesthetics, these inlays and onlays are strong, stain-resistant, and durable. Porcelain inlays and onlays are best suited for front-tooth restorations.

  • Gold

If you’re interested in strength and durability, inlays and onlays made of gold are the superior options. Gold is strong, durable, stain-resistant, and tough, making it ideal for back teeth restorations.

Unfortunately, the gold or metallic color may be a turn-off to some people. Similarly, like any other gold object, gold inlays or onlays are expensive.

  • Composite

Inlays and onlays made from composite resin are easy to get, affordable, and durable. Thanks to their natural looking color, these inlays and onlays are best suited for front-teeth restorations. Compared to other materials, composite is less durable. Also, it doesn’t resist wear or stains as well as porcelain.

Dental Inlays and Onlays Treatment Aftercare

After successfully placing the inlay or onlay, proper oral care and habits are essential to preserve the treated tooth and maintain good oral health.

Use these tips:

  • • Immediately after the procedure, you might feel some sensitivity. Until the sensitivity stops, avoid hot, spicy, and cold food and beverages.
  • Eat soft food until the area heals completely
  • Contact your dentist immediately if you feel something isn’t right
  • Brush and floss gently while avoiding the treated area
  • Eat healthier and hydrate well
  • Avoid alcoholic and tobacco products
  • Avoid sugary and acidic food. They make your teeth susceptible to cavities.
  • Schedule frequent dental exams and cleanings

Final Verdict

Dental inlays and onlays are great for repairing tooth damage. When considering inlays and onlays, discuss your options with your dentist to determine which material is suitable for your tooth.

For more information about dental inlays and onlays services and treatment, contact Westwood 2 – Donald J. Mclellan.

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