When a simple filling is not a viable option to treat your dental decay, a dental inlay or onlay may both repair and strengthen your tooth. Linda K. Westmoreland, DDS, and her team at Wedgewood Dental use this updated technique to restore your smile without the need or hassle of a crown. To see if an inlay or onlay can help your restore your dental health, call or book an appointment online with her office in Rolla, Missouri.
What is a dental inlay and onlay?
Inlays and onlays are restorative dental techniques often referred to as partial crowns. If dental decay has caused a space in a tooth that’s too large for a simple filling, inlays and onlays allow for restoration of the tooth without the need for a full-size crown.
Because they use a strong dental composite, these types of dental filling can actually strengthen the tooth and prevent future decay, as well as improve the natural, healthy appearance of your tooth.
What is the difference between inlays, onlays, and crowns?
Inlays and onlays are not crowns. Rather than covering the entire top of the tooth, as a crown does, an inlay or onlay fills in only the space left by the cavity. This makes your dental restoration less involved and utilizes more of the natural tooth material than with a crown.
An inlay fills a cavity inside the tooth, and an onlay fills a cavity that extends to the outside of the tooth, involving at least one cusp of the top tooth.
A crown is more of a replacement for a tooth or large amounts of tooth material, rather than a repair of the tooth, as is the case with an inlay or onlay.
What does the inlay or onlay procedure entail?
When Dr. Westmoreland determines that an inlay or onlay is best for restoring your smile, she first removes the decayed area of the tooth. This creates a space that needs to be filled in order to prevent further decay and protect the internal structures of the tooth.
Her team then takes a mold of your tooth in order to create a customized restorative inlay or onlay. This mold is sent to a dental lab, and a permanent restoration is created within about 2-3 weeks. While you wait for that to arrive, Dr. Westmoreland will place a temporary inlay or onlay.
You return later for placement of your permanent restoration. After the procedure is complete, your tooth will look natural and no one will be able to tell the difference between your natural teeth and your inlay or onlay.
For a consultation about the use of an inlay or onlay, call or book an appointment online with Dr. Westmoreland at Wedgewood Dental today.