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Inlays and Onlays

To put it in simple terms, inlays and onlays are dental fillings. These strong and durable restorative fillings are used to deal with cavities. The difference is that they are a little higher in quality than standard fillings. Below is more information about why you may need inlays or onlays, the benefits, the placement process, and more.

Why an Inlay or Onlay?

While you may be taking good care of your oral health, there is always the risk of a cavity. If you aren’t taking great care of your oral health, that risk increases. A cavity forms when acid from plaque eats away at the enamel of your tooth. If you don’t treat a cavity, the bacteria will continue to eat away until it reaches the pulp of the tooth and infects it. If the issue still isn’t addressed at this point, it can spread lower and eventually make its way to the jawbone. This is extremely serious and can even be life-threatening. Once your dentist notices a cavity, they’ll suggest the placement of a filling. From there, you may be given the option of a traditional filling, inlay, or onlay.

There are a few different materials that can be used to make a traditional filling. One common choice is composite resin. The materials used with this type of filling match the color of your tooth and are durable. Another option is dental amalgam. This is a combination of silver, mercury, tin, and copper. Dental amalgam fillings are silver in appearance, and they stand out. With that said, they are very durable and long-lasting.

The other options are inlays or onlays.

The Benefits of Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and onlays have a long life expectancy and can last quite a bit longer than traditional fillings. Fillings can fall out over time and need to be replaced. Due to the cement bonding and the initial fabrication of inlays and onlays, they do an excellent job of ensuring your tooth stays safe from bacteria and damage. Onlays can be used for large cavities and perimeter damage that traditional fillings are not as suitable for. Inlays and onlays can be made from ceramic or porcelain. Both of these materials can be made to perfectly match the shade and color of your tooth. Because of this, they are just as aesthetically appealing as they are strong.

The difference between inlays and onlays is that inlays are used to treat smaller areas of decay, while onlays are used for more extensive damage.

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The Inlay and Onlay Placement Process

The first step of your inlay or onlay placement procedure will be a trip to your dentist either for a checkup or because you are experiencing discomfort. If they find that you have a cavity, they will discuss treatment options with you—which may include either an inlay or onlay depending on the severity of the damage.

Once you’ve scheduled a placement appointment, your dentist will prep the tooth and remove decay. They will then thoroughly clean the tooth. Your dentist will make impressions of the tooth and decide on the color of the restoration. They will then send this to a lab for the prosthetic to be fabricated. In the meantime, your dentist will place a temporary inlay or onlay. Once the final restoration is completed, your dentist will remove the temporary replacement and install the final replacement.

The Cost of Inlays and Onlays

The costs of inlays or onlays will depend on a few different factors, such as the severity, the particular dentist, and the insurance coverage of the patient. It’s important to keep in mind that a lot of insurance providers do not cover inlays and onlays, as they are more expensive. For more information about coverage, reach out to your insurance provider. If you have any questions about cost, contact Oxboro Dental. We can provide you with a rough estimate.

Taking Proper Care of Your Inlays or Onlays

While inlays and onlays are strong repair solutions, they aren’t invincible. You’ll still need to take proper care of them to ensure their longevity. Make sure you are avoiding eating and drinking foods and drinks that stain your teeth. These can stain your inlays or onlays. Some examples of liquids that stain your inlays or onlays include tea, coffee, soda, and red wine. Try to limit the amount of these beverages that you consume.

Keep in mind what made you have to get fillings in the first place—poor oral health. Make sure you are brushing, flossing, and rinsing twice a day, every day. Be thorough with your brushing and flossing—don’t just phone it in. You also need to schedule a visit for a trip to the dentist every six months. During these visits, your dentist will perform a thorough cleaning and checkup. This checkup will include a visual exam and possibly x-rays. Your dentist will scrape off plaque and use special tools to ensure your teeth are clean and your gums are healthy. They will also diagnose gum disease, tooth decay, and any other oral health issues you may be having while you are there. If they find a cavity, they will discuss repair options with you. Depending on the severity, these repair options may include inlays or onlays.

Reach Out Today

If you don’t have a cleaning and checkup in the books, reach out to Oxboro Dental today. We’ll schedule you an appointment. If you are experiencing tooth or jaw pain, make sure to reach out about an immediate appointment. You’ll want to catch any tooth decay early on before it becomes worse. If you allow the problem to progress, you may need a root canal or worse—the tooth may end up needing to be extracted!

If you have any questions about insurance, speak with our front office. We’ll take a look and see if you are in our network.

We look forward to speaking with you and scheduling an appointment.