Inlays & Onlays
Inlays and Onlays are restorative dental treatments that we at HomeTown Dental at Irving offer. Bigger than fillings, but not as intrusive as crowns, they are used to get the perfect result without compromising the tooth’s structure.
What Is the Difference Between an Inlay and an Onlay?
While inlays and onlays are made from the same materials and perform a similar function to dental crowns, they do not completely cover the tooth, protecting only specific areas of decay.
The essential difference between inlays and onlays, is that inlays are used to fill cavities and hollows in the tooth between the cusps (the pointed protrusions on the top of the back teeth). Onlays work on cavities too, but also on larger areas, including the cusps themselves.
What is the Process for Getting an Inlay or Onlay?
The process for inlays and onlays has more common with the procedure for crowns than fillings. Fillings are carried out by our dentists while you wait, whereas dental crowns are made to measure by an experienced lab technician in an offsite laboratory - as are inlays and onlays.
Your tooth will need to be prepared before we fit an inlay or onlay, which means removing all the decay and placing a temporary filling. This is removed when you come back to have the inlay or onlay cemented securely in place, and polished to blend in with your tooth.
How Long Will an Inlay or Onlay Last?
With good care, inlays and onlays are very durable, but it does depend on the material used, where they are in the mouth, and their position on the tooth. It is hard to guarantee how long they will last as some will naturally undergo more wear-and-tear, and how effective your oral hygiene routine is will also have an effect on their longevity.
What Materials are Inlays and Onlays Made From?
Inlays and onlays can be made from various materials suitable for their strength, durability, and, in some instances, for their aesthetic qualities. Gold has been used for inlays and onlays for a long time, and while it is incredibly strong and long-lasting, it is expensive, rather noticeable, and not for everyone if a more natural-looking result is required.
For good cosmetic results that can be color-matched to your teeth, porcelain or ceramic material is a good choice, although almost as expensive as gold. For a more economical option, composite resin will do a good job. It isn’t as hard-wearing as porcelain, but it can be color-matched to your teeth.
A material that does match the color of existing teeth is composite resin, which is also one of the least expensive options. However, it is not as tough as porcelain, which is another material that can be color-matched to teeth to provide a cosmetically pleasing effect.
Because inlays and onlays are bonded directly onto the tooth, they may increase the strength of the tooth, which is why they potentially have a long-life span. If you have a damaged tooth, inlays and onlays are just as effective as crowns and fillings for durability and restoring your tooth’s function.
Get in touch with us to find out more about inlays and onlays at HomeTown Dental at Irving. Call us on (682) 204-5777.