Inlays and Onlays
Cavities are extremely common. A vast majority of adults have had at least one cavity in an adult tooth during their lifetime. In most cases, we can treat cavities with fillings. You are most likely familiar with this type of treatment. While extremely effective, they are not always the best choice for treating cavities. At Advanced Dental Associates we can also treat cavities with inlays and onlays.
When are Inlays and Onlays Recommended?
Typically, cavities are treated with fillings. This involves the placement of material inside of the space left behind by decay. Most fillings are done using an amalgam or a composite resin. Each type has its place, but they are not always the best solution for every situation.
Amalgam and composite fillings are what are known as direct fillings. We place them inside of the cavity and harden them there. They can be used to treat many types of cavities. However, if you have a more significant amount of decay, fillings may not be ideal. Fillings may compromise the tooth further.
Inlays and onlays are alternatives to amalgam and composite fillings. These fillings are called indirect fillings. Rather than packing material into the cavity and curing it, inlays and onlays are lab-created. They can be made using many different types of materials, including metals and porcelain. After they have been made, which is possible using a dental impression, your inlay or onlay is then cemented into the cavity. Not only does the indirect filling effectively seal the cavity, protecting the tooth and preventing further decay, it also helps to strengthen the tooth. They are frequently used for dealing with cavities affecting the chewing surfaces of the molars.
Inlays Vs. Fillings
Traditional fillings placed on the chewing surfaces of your teeth can present some complications. Strong amalgam fillings can be driven further into the tooth by the forces exerted on the tooth. Composite resin can break or wear out too quickly. An inlay is an alternative to a filling that is used for dealing with cavities in the crevices of your molars that do not extend up to the cusps. While a traditional filling is quicker, an inlay is a much more effective, longer-lasting solution for dealing with these types of cavities.
Onlays Vs. Crowns
You may be recommended an onlay when you have more significant decay that has started to destroy one or more of the cusps of your molar. This type of filling is also sometimes called a partial crown. It provides greater strength and more success than a traditional filling, but it is not as invasive as a crown would be. We only need to treat the area where the decay is rather than having to remove enamel from the tooth and cover its entire surface. In addition to being less invasive, it is also a more affordable option.
If you have a cavity that is too large to be treated with a traditional filling, but not significant enough for a crown, an inlay or onlay may be recommended. Call Advanced Dental Associates at (210) 714-5589 to schedule your appointment today.