Dental inlays and onlays can repair back teeth with mild to moderate decay, or restore cracked or pitted teeth. By preserving a greater amount of your natural tooth structure than dental crowns, inlays and onlays are conservative yet durable and long-lasting. Our metal-free inlays and onlays are made of safe, biocompatible materials. At our holistic dentistry practice, one of just two in the Philadelphia, PA, area, Dr. Gerald Regni and Dr. Adil Salik provide these restorations and a wide range of treatments to maintain your smile.
About Inlays and Onlays
When tooth decay develops, the type of treatment necessary will depend on the amount of damage. Smaller cavities can typically benefit from a dental filling, while larger areas of damage may require a stronger restoration. Inlays and onlays are typically placed on molars, and are used after large cavities are treated or to reinforce cracked or weakened teeth.
Metal-free inlays and onlays are made of safe, biocompatible materials.
Inlays and onlays can be crafted from various dental materials, including composite resin and porcelain. Because they can be color-matched to your natural teeth, these restorations blend in seamlessly with your smile for a lifelike appearance.
Inlays vs Onlays: What is the Difference?
Inlays and onlays serve the same restorative purpose. However, the type of restoration your doctor recommends will depend on the size and location of the treatment area:
- Inlays: Used to restore decay between the cusps of a molar, a dental inlay is placed within the tooth’s natural indentation, covering only a portion of the chewing surface.
- Onlays: Designed to address more severe decay, a dental onlay fully covers the chewing surface of the molar, including the cusps.
Receiving an Inlay or Onlay
Typically, placing an inlay or onlay can be completed in two office visits.
- Tooth Preparation: Before a cavity can be filled, the damaged portions of the tooth must be removed. Your doctor will perform this step using special dental instruments, making sure the decay is completely eliminated.
- Impressions: Once the tooth is prepared, dental impressions will be taken of your teeth in order to fabricate your new custom restoration.
- Temporary Restoration: To protect your tooth while your inlay or onlay is being crafted, we will place a temporary restoration.
- Placement of Final Restoration: Once your new custom restoration is ready, we will schedule an appointment in our office to have it placed. Your doctor will carefully remove the temporary restoration and check the fit of the inlay or onlay. Using a strong dental bonding agent, the restoration will be permanently cemented into place.
- Adjustments: Your doctor will check your bite and make any necessary adjustments, smoothing out any rough edges.
How Do Inlays and Onlays Compare to Other Restorative Alternatives?
Not every cavity will require an inlay or onlay. However, they are an excellent option for many patients since the restorations:
- Provide optimal support compared to dental fillings
- Require less removal of natural tooth structure than dental crowns
- Can last up to 30 years (much longer than a traditional dental filling)
- Do not expand and contract with temperature fluctuations, as metal fillings do
Restore Your Smile
If you are experiencing symptoms of tooth decay or other damage, such as sensitivity, bad breath, or swollen gums, an inlay or onlay could be the optimal restorative solution for you. To schedule a visit at our practice, contact us online anytime or call our office at (251) 351-9399.