What are Inlays and Onlays?

Sometimes tooth decay develops into a tricky spot. It may be too advanced for dental fillings to be effective, but a dental crown is too much. Then what? That’s where inlays and onlays come in. Dr. Suman Chibb of Owings Mills Dental Care, a dentist in Owings Mills, MD, explains what they are and the benefits of getting them.owings mills, maryland dentist

What is an Inlay?

Inlays cover large areas of tooth decay or damage on the surface of the tooth. It’s a secure fit that seals the decayed area of the tooth shut and helps the structure of your tooth. They’re designed with dental ceramic that matches the color of the tooth so that they’re subtle and blend in with the rest of your smile.

What is an Onlay?

Onlays are basically like a partial crown. They’re mainly used on the molars, treating areas that traditional dental fillings aren’t able to. They rest in the cusp of the tooth, snugly settling in and treating decay that resides in the valleys of the tooth.

Both inlays and onlays perform the same kinds of functions, just in different parts and regions of the tooth.  They help fill the gap posed between treating tooth decay with dental fillings and treating it with a full dental crown.

The Inlay/Onlay Process

During your normal bi-annual dental exam, checking for tooth decay is something Dr. Chibb will always do. If she finds signs of tooth decay, an x-ray may be done to see how severe it is. We’ll discuss all the options of treating your tooth with you. We want you to be able to make an informed decision and will recommend what we believe is the best option.

In most instances, we’ll recommend the best option to preserve as much of your natural tooth as possible. This is what inlays and onlays aim to do. In preserving more of the natural tooth, you’ll have a more stable bite down the line.

Impressions are taken of the tooth in question. The inlay or onlay is then made from that impression. We’ll make the impression out of a material that’ll match the color of the tooth, letting it blend in with your smile. The restoration is permanently bonded to your tooth, rendering it practically invisible to others and allowing you to avoid any dietary restrictions.

The Benefits of Choosing Inlays or Onlays

Preserving most of your natural tooth is just one of the benefits this treatment offers. Because the impressions allow them to fit so tightly to your tooth, they’re sealed so no more bacteria can get into the tooth. They blend in with your tooth extremely well. They’re a permanent restoration, so you don’t have to worry about it when it’s done. It’s designed to last you the rest of your years.

Your Dentist in Owings Mills, Maryland

Make sure you get your teeth checked regularly to see if problems with tooth decay are developing. Call us or schedule an appointment online today.