A Case for Inlays and Onlays as an Alternative to Composite Fillings

Inlays and Onlays

Traditional composite fillings are a great treatment option for patients with minor tooth decay that has been diagnosed and treated before too much damage could occur, but what happens if there is extensive damage? In situations like this, inlays and onlays may be the best treatment option. At Bonham Dental, our doctors have been brilliantly crafting inlays and onlays to perfectly fit their patient’s teeth and restore the integrity of their remaining natural teeth.

What are Inlays and Onlays?

Inlays and onlays are a specific type of dental restoration that restores a tooth by providing additional support without requiring the need to damage or destroy too much of the natural tooth. It is often recommended as a form of treatment when a patient has a situation where a composite filling won’t provide enough support to properly restore a tooth, but the damage isn’t so bad that it needs a dental crown.

Inlays and onlays are a solid, single piece of porcelain material that fit snuggly onto a tooth that has a hole left by tooth decay. There is a slight difference between an inlay and onlay. An inlay is shaped to fit the space that occurs near the center of a tooth, while an onlay is larger and fits over the biting surface or the space between teeth.

Difference Between Inlays and Onlays vs. Composite Fillings

Both composite fillings and dental inlays or onlays are designed to fill in the gap created by the removal of tooth decay. When comparing the two, their purpose is the same – to fill the tooth and provide enough support to restore the tooth to its natural strength. The difference is in how they provide the support.

A composite filling is a quick, easy tooth restoration process that can be completed in a single office visit. The dentist will take the composite material and shape it and mold it so that it securely fills the void left after the tooth decay has been removed. While this helps prevents the spread of tooth decay, it isn’t always an ideal treatment option when the portion of decay was fairly large.

Dental inlays and onlays are sturdy dental restorations for teeth that have been damaged, but not so damaged they need a dental crown. The dental inlays and onlays are customized to securely and snugly fit the gap caused by tooth decay.

Unlike composite fillings, which are done in the dentist office and only take one visit, dental inlays and onlays require at least two visits. The first visit will allow Dr. Bonham to take impressions of the teeth that will need the inlay or onlay. The impression is sent to a local laboratory that will make a solid restoration that uniquely fits the space that needs a filling.

After the inlay or onlay has been made, patients will then come back for a second visit. During the second visit, your Bonham dentist will cement the onlay or inlay into place.

Benefits of Choosing Dental Inlays and Onlays

The benefits of choosing dental inlays or onlays far outweigh the drawbacks. Some of the benefits patients receive when they choose dental inlays or onlays include:

  • Ability to have a tooth filled in a way that looks extremely natural
  • Preserving as much of the natural tooth as possible
  • Perfect for filling difficult cavities that are between teeth
  • Extremely strong and stable which allows people to chew without fear of damaging their teeth
  • Creatures a better seal that prevents bacteria from forming or getting into the tooth and causing more tooth decay
  • Extended longevity
  • Prevents staining that occurs from eating and drinking different foods and beverage

Inlays and onlays are a conservative dental restoration option. Patients who live in the Largo, Florida area can schedule an appointment with the doctors at Bonham Dental Arts. They will conduct a comprehensive oral examination and provide you with recommendations for dental restoration options that will help improve your beautiful smile. Call the office today to schedule an appointment for a complete comprehensive exam.