Sometimes a cavity can occur in a hard-to-reach part of your tooth, such as a surface that abuts an adjacent tooth. In this case, a traditional cavity treatment is impractical. Instead, a substantial portion of the tooth (including the portion with the cavity) must be removed and replaced with an inlay. An inlay is a custom-crafted restoration that fits precisely into the tooth, providing additional support. Depending upon the material used, it can also restore a normal appearance. If the restoration must extend to the tops, or cusps, of the tooth, it is referred to as an onlay. At the Windsor cosmetic dentistry practice of Stephen D. Lipman, DMD, we are proud to offer inlays and onlays as a way to give your teeth a new lease on life.
For our patients in Windsor, inlays and onlays require two visits to our office. During the first visit, the decayed portion of your tooth will be removed, and a special mold is taken of the treated tooth. Next, a special temporary restoration is placed on the tooth to provide support, and to help your bite function normally while you wait for your permanent restoration. Meanwhile, the mold of your tooth is sent to an offsite laboratory. Skilled technicians will use the mold to create an inlay or onlay that fits your treated tooth seamlessly.
In about two to three weeks, you will return to our office to have your custom inlay or onlay placed. First, we will “try on” your restoration, or place it without using an adhesive, to ensure a proper fit will be achieved. Next, the special dental cement is applied, and your inlay or onlay is set in place. Any excess adhesive will be removed.
Inlays and onlays are considered a more conservative approach than other treatments. For our patients in Windsor, dental crowns may be used if the tooth has suffered more severe damage.
Inlay and Onlay Benefits
Inlays and onlays provide a wealth of benefits. They allow you to preserve the maximum amount of healthy tooth structure. Teeth with inlays and onlays are much easier to clean than teeth restored with a dental crown (though sometimes, when the damage to a tooth is extensive, a crown is the best possible option). Inlays and onlays are very stable restorations. Because they are crafted to fit your tooth precisely, they can lend substantial strength to a damaged tooth. Inlays and onlays also have an excellent life expectancy. Many are guaranteed for at least five to 10 years.
Inlay and Onlay Types
Inlays and onlays are typically made of porcelain, resin or gold. If the inlay or onlay is required in an area of the mouth that is not easily seen, gold may be recommended because of its superior strength. However, if your restoration will appear in the “smile line,” or more visible areas of the smile, porcelain restorations may be the best option. We can help you weigh your options based on your individual case, needs, and preferences.
Preserving the health and structural integrity of your teeth is incredibly important. If you develop a cavity, or incur damage to your tooth that doesn’t warrant a crown, inlays or onlays can be an excellent solution for you. Contact our practice today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Lipman.