Despite patients best efforts to maintain good oral hygiene practices, tooth decay can occur. In many cases, tooth decay can be treated with a traditional dental filling. In some cases tooth decay has gone too far to be repaired with a filling. You may think that the only other option is a dental crown. However, if you still have enough healthy tooth structure remaining, you can benefit from inlays and onlays treatment. If you are a candidate for this treatment, Dr. Ettienne van Zyl, a leading Memphis cosmetic dentist, can help you.
What Are Inlays and Onlays?
Inlays and onlays may not be a dental term you are familiar with. However, most of us know what a dental filling is. In simple terms, inlays and onlays are the same as fillings, only larger in size and custom made to fit on the patients tooth. Inlays and onlays are recommended when decay is too severe to be treated with a filling. A dental inlay restoration is cemented into place within the cusps (or points) of your teeth. An onlay is a larger version of an inlay. An onlay extends to one or more of the cusps of the teeth and in some cases may cover the entire biting surface of the tooth. Inlays and onlays can be composed of several different materials but composite resin and porcelain is highly recommended because it can be made to match your natural tooth color. Inlays and onlays are a long lasting restorative solution. With proper care, inlays and onlays can last for decades.
The Inlays and Onlays Treatment Process
The inlays and onlays treatment process is similar to that of a dental crown. Two dental appointments will be necessary, as the inlays and onlays are usually constructed out of office. At your first appointment, your damaged tooth will be prepared by removing tooth decay and shaping the tooth. A mold will then be made of the area to be treated so that the inlay or onlay can be made to fit your tooth exactly. The dentist will usually place a temporary filling during this visit while the inlay or onlay is fabricated.
At your second appointment the temporary filling will be removed and the inlay or onlay will be put in place. The dentist will then check your bite to see if any further shaping is necessary to ensure fit and comfort. When Dr. van Zyl is satisfied with the fit of the inlay or onlay, it will be cemented into place and polished.
Benefits of Inlays and Onlays
Inlays and onlays offer the following benefits:
- Conservation of tooth structure
- Easy maintenance and care
- Comfortable fit
- Teeth that retain a natural look and blend in with surrounding teeth
- Results that last for decades
For some of our patients in Memphis, restorative dentistry treatments such as dental fillings or crowns may be necessary to repair damage. Dr. van Zyl will determine which treatment is right for you during an exam at our office.
Schedule an Appointment
At Family Dental Care, Dr. Ettienne van Zyl offers a full range of treatments to restore the health and natural beauty of your smile. Schedule an appointment today to see what treatments may be most beneficial to you. We look forward to meeting you!