Inlays and Onlays
At Medhat Dental Excellence, we offer several prosthodontic or restorative dentistry options. These options fall under direct or indirect restorations. Direct tooth restorations are procedures done directly on the tooth in the mouth, while indirect tooth restorations use customized replacements that are then bonded to the tooth. In both cases, the purpose is to preserve the healthy part of the natural tooth and restore the missing or damaged structures so the tooth can serve its function.
Inlays and onlays are among the indirect restorations. We recommend them as the best solution when repairing a tooth whose damage exceeds what is reparable by direct filling, but is not damaged to the point of needing a dental crown. As such, they are both restorations for average tooth damage and are performed on posterior teeth whose chewing surface is prone to dental cavities.
Before proceeding with an inlay or onlay, we clean the tooth to remove decay and then take an impression of the tooth which is sent to the lab to prepare the mold. They can be made from gold, porcelain, or composite resins. The last two materials have the advantage of blending with the natural shade of your tooth. Sometimes, however, we may propose a gold mold to give your tooth extra strength. Irrespective of the material used, inlays and onlays are strong and will last longer than a dental filling. While inlays and onlays have the mentioned aspects in common, they also have some variations.
What are Inlays?
Inlays are molded to repair teeth whose central part has been damaged by cavities to the point where a conventional filling would not make the tooth strong enough to resume its chewing function. The inlay mold is made in the exact size and shape of the cavity and is fit and cemented into the groove of your tooth between the cusps, which are the raised points of the tooth. Our prosthodontist will rid your tooth of the decayed part before taking the impression needed to fabricate an inlay that perfectly fits into the cavity.
What are Onlays?
Onlays are bigger in size than inlays. They are made in a single piece that sits on the groove of the tooth and wraps partly or fully over the cusps to repair the damaged part. This explains why onlays are sometimes described as partial crowns. As with inlays, we remove the decayed part of your tooth before taking an impression for molding the onlay in a lab. Once ready, the mold is fit and cemented to the tooth to repair the damage.
Whether we recommend inlays or onlays, you will enjoy certain benefits in both cases. First, you will have stronger teeth because the material used for the restoration is strong and lasts longer. Second, you will no longer struggle with tooth sensitivity, and, most importantly, the natural structure of your tooth is preserved.
Make an appointment to visit Dr. Ramin A. Medhat so we can examine your teeth for cavities and have them restored to their natural strength with inlays or onlays. You can contact us, Medhat Dental Excellence at (773) 774-4611 today, and make your first steps back to a healthy smile.