When your tooth incurs extensive damage, you may immediately assume you will require a dental crown. This is not always the case. When a large portion within the top of your tooth, or along the side of your tooth, requires treatment too complex for a simple filling, restorative treatments called inlays and onlays may offer the solution. Your Atlanta cosmetic dentist, Dr. Ross or Dr. Shah, may offer inlays or onlays, which act to beautifully replace portions of missing tooth tissue. By scheduling an appointment with us today, we can quickly assess your condition, and return your tooth to its full function and brilliance.
What Are Inlays and Onlays?
Think of inlays and onlays as perfectly designed pieces that replace missing parts of your tooth. Just like a final puzzle piece fits directly into a puzzle to complete the whole, an inlay or onlay functions similarly. Your dentist will generally suggest this conservative restorative option when a filling will not adequately restore your tooth, and when a dental crown would be considered an overtreatment. Look over the following descriptions for a clearer understanding of inlays and onlays:
- Inlays: An inlay replaces missing tooth material within the top of your tooth, between the cusps.
- Onlays: An onlay replaces a damaged cusp, and may also extend along the side of your tooth.
What Does the Procedure Entail?
Inlays and onlays are considered “indirect” restorations. This is unlike a “direct” restoration, such as a filling, in which your dentist designs and performs the restoration on-site. Instead, indirect restorations require custom crafting at a dental lab. To receive your custom-fitted inlay or onlay, we will first need to take impressions of your top and bottom teeth. We will then send the impressions to a dental lab, where a master ceramicist will craft your inlay or onlay out of porcelain, metal, or porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM). Once we receive your restoration, you will visit us for a follow-up appointment. Your dentist will permanently place the inlay or onlay.
What Are the Benefits of Inlays and Onlays?
If you suffer from a large cavity, or accidental partial damage to your tooth, inlays and onlays may restore your tooth’s function and beauty. We suggest considering the following benefits of inlays and onlays if you are unfamiliar with this type of restoration:
- Inlays and onlays preserve your natural teeth, preventing the need for coverage with dental crowns
- Inlays and onlays may require a less expensive investment than a dental crown
- If your tooth requires a porcelain inlay or onlay, your dentist will color-match the piece to the rest of your tooth, for a seamless finish
- You will enjoy fully regained function, including comfortable eating and speaking
Schedule Your Visit
If you suffer from tooth damage, such as a trauma or cavity, that is too complex for a filling, but does not require a dental crown, contact us immediately. We will schedule an appointment, so your dentist can determine whether inlays and onlays will restore your tooth. If you require a more extensive repair, Drs. Ross and Shah will provide you with alternative solutions to return you to excellent oral health, comfort, and function.