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Inlays and Onlays


Woman smiling with perfect teethA lot of times, a small cavity does not cause pain and cannot be detected, especially if you have a habit of missing your 6-monthly dental appointments. When a cavity does grow big enough to be seen, a simple filling to restore your tooth often does not do the trick. In this case, Sabeti Cosmetic Dentistry offers you inlay and onlay restorations, two types of indirect filling.

What is an Inlay?


An inlay is a pre-fabricated filling that has been custom-made to fit into the pits and fissures of a cavity, but not over the cusps or the pointed surfaces of the tooth. Dental inlays are used when a cavity is so large that a filling cannot restore it but does not require a crown.

During the process, Dr. Shohreh Sabeti will drill out the decay from your tooth and prepare the cavity to receive the inlay. An impression of the tooth is taken and sent to the lab so that an inlay can be created based on it.

The inlay is of the precise shape of your tooth cavity and is intended to fit perfectly in the space. It is manufactured from porcelain material and can bond very tightly to the tooth. This is why they are generally more durable than regular fillings.

What is an Onlay?


An onlay is almost the same as an inlay, except that it is used to restore even larger cavities that extend to the cusps of the tooth. Dental onlays are used when a cavity is not large enough to warrant a crown but cannot be fixed with a filling.

The creation process of an onlay is the same as an inlay. In the past, onlays were made only of gold, though these days, they are made of high-grade porcelain material as well.

Onlays bond strongly to the tooth, giving it a natural appearance, and increasing its strength and stability.

Since onlays prevent the use of crowns, they help to conserve your dental health. However, it is difficult for the patient to ascertain whether a tooth needs an onlay or a crown. To determine this, you will need to schedule an appointment with Dr. Shohreh Sabeti.

Inlays Vs. Fillings


Inlays and fillings are not very different from each other. Both these types of fillings require the removal of some tooth structure and filling of the cavity. However, a few things distinguish inlays from fillings.

Firstly, inlays are indirect fillings, which means that they are not applied directly to the tooth in layers, unlike ordinary fillings. Instead, they are molded in the exact shape of the area of the prepared tooth, which needs to be filled and fixed there permanently with cement. The fit must be perfect so that bacteria and infection cannot find a way to leak into the tooth.

Secondly, cavities requiring inlays are significantly larger in size. Thirdly, inlays are typically made of ceramic or gold material, while fillings can be made of amalgam and composite resin as well. However, this isn’t a hard and fast rule.

Onlays Vs. Crowns


Onlays and crowns are similar in many ways. Both of these restorative prosthetics are made to exactly fit the tooth which needs to be repaired. Both of these focus on major dental damage and decay.

However, crowns cover the entirety of the tooth above the gum line, while onlays do not. Onlays cover only the affected part of the tooth, including the cusps. They are a bit more difficult to fit since they have to line perfectly with the affected area to prevent seepage.

Onlays are often used when the level of injury does not support the scaling down of the healthy tooth material that can support a crown.

Benefits of Inlays and Onlays


Inlays and onlays have some benefits over direct fillings:
•  Inlays and onlays are much more durable than direct fillings as the porcelain allows them to strongly bond to the tooth. Therefore, they can last for up to 30 years.
•  Large fillings can weaken the tooth further and cause it to break. However, inlays and onlays can strengthen your teeth by up to 70%.
•  They also prolong the life of your tooth and prevent more costly treatments in the future.

If you have developed a large cavity, schedule an appointment with us by calling us at (213) 314-0636 so that we can check whether an inlay or an onlay will work for you.

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