Inlay / Onlay - Smile Enhancements
Inlays and onlays are a type of indirect filling used to restore teeth that are severely damaged or decayed. Generally, when more than half of the tooth's biting surface is damaged, inlays and onlays are the recommended choice of dental restoration.
Inlays and onlays are custom made in a lab, then bonded to the damaged area of the tooth. Inlays and onlays can be made of porcelain, gold or composite resin. Porcelain is the material of choice for inlays and onlays due to its strength and color, which matches the natural color of your teeth.
Onlay - Onlays (similar to dental crowns) are used to restore the outside of the tooth surface that has been severely decayed or damaged. Onlays are custom made to fit around the outside of the tooth, restoring the shape and function of the tooth. In many cases, where the damage to the tooth is not extensive enough to merit an entire crown, onlays can provide a very good alternative.
Inlay - Inlays (similar to dental fillings) are custom made restorations applied to the inside damaged tooth surface. Inlays are fitted to the tooth and then cemented in place to help strengthen the overall tooth structure.
How are inlays/onlays applied?
Inlays and onlays require two dental appointments to complete the procedure. During the first visit, the damaged or decaying area of the tooth is removed and the tooth is prepared for the inlay or onlay. To ensure the inlay/onlay delivers proper fit and bite, an impression of the tooth is made by the dentist, and sent to a lab for custom fabrication. The dentist will then apply a temporary sealant on the tooth and schedule the next appointment.
At the second appointment, the temporary sealant is removed. The custom made inlay/onlay is then bonded to the tooth with a strong resin and polished to a smooth finish. The result? Natural looking teeth and a new and improved smile!
Advantages of inlays/onlays
When compared to traditional metal fillings, inlays and onlays have many advantages:
- Inlays/onlays give the tooth a natural, aesthetic appearance
- Inlays/onlays can increase the strength of a tooth by up to 75%
- Inlays/onlays are resistant to stains
- Inlays/onlays can help insulate the tooth from exposure to hot and cold
- Inlays/onlays are durable and can last from 10 to 30 years
- Inlays/onlays can prevent tooth loss by preventing further decay from occurring to the affected tooth
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