Usually, if a tooth is decayed, a filling can solve the problem and restabilize the tooth. But sometimes, if the tooth is particularly damaged or worn, a filling isn’t enough. These circumstances are where porcelain inlays and onlays really have a chance to shine.
What Are Porcelain Inlays and Onlays?
One way to hold together a tooth that is too damaged to be solved with a filling is to add a dental crown. However, in these cases, often a lot of the tooth material has to be removed in order to apply the crown. Most dentists are hesitant to remove more of the structure of your tooth than is strictly necessary. Luckily, inlays and onlays can do the same work of a crown, but without necessitating such extreme removal of tooth material.
Here’s how they work: Your inlay or onlay will be custom created to fit your existing tooth’s shape. Then, they will be bonded seamlessly over your tooth, effectively sealing off the area from bacteria and preventing decay.
The difference between inlays and onlays is just their extent — an inlay is specifically applied to the top surfaces of the teeth, while onlays are used when the entire biting surface needs to be covered.
Not only are inlays and onlays effective at protecting damaged teeth, but they’re also attractive! They are made from a strong, natural-looking porcelain composite that your dentist will perfectly match to your existing teeth. It’ll be just like having your real tooth back in perfect shape.
If you’re interested in a porcelain inlay or onlay, you can have one in just a few visits. Your dentist will first need to take an impression of the tooth, so that the porcelain composite can be custom crafted to fit you. Once it’s ready, your dentist can quickly and easily place it and bond it, and you can walk out of the dentist’s office with a fully restored tooth.
Crowns and Fillings Have Their Place
For teeth that are still structurally strong, a filling can often solve the problem with no trouble. Better yet, those ugly metal fillings are a relic of the past — today’s fillings are tooth-colored to perfectly blend in with your teeth for a subtle and attractive appearance.
If you’re looking for an efficient repair job on a single tooth, sometimes a crown really is the best option. Thanks to CEREC technology, you can get a custom ceramic crown in a single visit.
Every situation and patient is different, and requires a different response. If you’re not sure what the best solution is for your dental problem, your dentist can discuss your options with you and help you choose the procedure that is best suited for your needs.