Cavities are one of the most common dental problems for most patients. Small cavities can be repaired with a filling, but more advanced decay may need a more intensive treatment. For some cases, though, a crown may be a step too far. For a tooth needing more than a filling but less than a crown, dental inlays or onlays may be the answer.
How are they different from fillings?
A traditional filling uses tooth-colored material that is injected into the tooth. After cleaning, the injectable fills the decayed cavity to stabilize the tooth. Dental inlays and onlays have both traditionally been made of gold. Now they are made from porcelain, fabricated in a laboratory and bonded to the tooth. The porcelain will match the appearance of the tooth for a seamless look.
Inlays vs. Onlays
Depending on the nature of your decay, Dr. Aubrey Myers will determine whether an inlay or onlay is the better choice for you.
An inlay treats decay to the inside surfaces of the tooth. Typically, an inlay treats a large area of surface damage.
An onlay covers the top of the tooth, but more conservatively than a dental crown. The onlay will sit on top of the tooth, conforming to the hard-to-clean crevices in the chewing surface.
Both inlays and onlays are designed to stabilize the tooth and prevent further decay.
The Treatment Process
If you have a diseased or decaying tooth, Dr. Myers will first remove the damaged tooth material to see how extensive the damage is and what treatment will be best suited to the problem. If an inlay or onlay is needed, she will take impressions of the tooth. The impressions will be sent to a dental lab where an inlay or onlay will be fabricated from high-quality dental porcelain to fit your tooth. The porcelain can be custom colored to blend seamlessly with your natural teeth.
At a second appointment, your new inlay or onlay will be permanently bonded to the tooth. The inlay or onlay should be extremely durable and will repair both the look and function of your smile while impeding further decay.
Schedule Your Appointment
If you have a cavity, or an old metal inlay or onlay that you would like replaced, schedule an appointment with Dr. Aubrey Myers at Emerald Isle Smiles. Call our office at (252) 370-9611 or make an appointment online and get a healthier smile today.