Inlays and Onlays
When adult teeth are damaged, crowns can be a good alternative that can substitute for damaged teeth, but they don’t have to be the go-to procedure unless most of a tooth is gone. If the damage is minor, we often recommend inlays or onlays. They are more durable than fillings and therefore last longer, but less invasive and time-consuming than crowns.
What Is an Inlay?
Like fillings, inlays go inside your tooth, but via a different procedure. The most important difference is that inlays are not hardened inside a patient's mouth. They’re made in advance and then applied to the damaged tooth area. This allows doctors to use materials like metal and porcelain, which are impractical for fillings.
During your first visit to a dentist, the damaged tooth gets cleaned out and any unnecessary materials are removed to prepare the tooth for the upcoming procedure. After that, a doctor takes the exact measurements of an area and orders an inlay according to them. After your inlay is created, you come in for another visit when your inlay will be placed on your tooth.
What Is an Onlay?
The principle behind onlays is similar to inlays, but instead of going inside a tooth like inlays, onlays are placed on the teeth to replace an outer part, which may be missing, damaged or removed by a dentist. This method is much like placing a partial crown on your teeth; only onlays do not require removal of the root nerve. They only replace the cusp, or several cusps, which means there's no need to go inside the tooth at all.
Onlays are the perfect option for patients who want to preserve their organic teeth. Just like inlays, onlays can contain various ceramic and metal materials which make them resistant and more durable than crowns.
For more information about inlays and onlays and to get a free quote, call us at (713) 682-7233!