Inlays and Onlays
A crown, bridge or partial implant are all great ways to restore and protect teeth that have been seriously damaged - but what if the damage is only partial? In those cases, we recommend getting an inlay or onlay.
These are conservative treatments that will stop a cavity from growing and a tooth from decaying without requiring too much work. They are also stronger than fillings, and more likely to last you years without needing repeated visits to your dentist.
What Is an Inlay?
An inlay is an indirect restoration of your tooth. It is similar to a filling in the sense that it goes inside a damaged tooth’s cavity - but there are some important differences. Most importantly, a filling is made by placing material directly into your cavity and letting it harden. Often, this means putting a piece of hard material in and cementing it - but some hardening must be added, else the hard material will fall out.
An inlay is different in that it is made outside your mouth - and not just a small piece of it, but the entire thing. This means more materials can be used; for example, gold and porcelain. It also means that an inlay will last far longer than a filling, because it is not mostly made of a soft, hardening material.
What Is an Onlay?
An inlay goes inside a tooth cavity. Its “cousin” - the onlay - goes on the tooth instead. In that sense, it is a less invasive alternative to a crown. Onlays are perfect for chipped, broken and damaged teeth; anything where the outer layer of the tooth is missing or fractured.
A crown covers up an entire tooth, often after the latter is sanded and the root nerve is removed. Since an onlay is far less extensive - for instance, it does not start at the gums - the dentist will simply remove any decaying matter and do nothing else. This makes onlays a superior option for those wanting to preserve their organic teeth.
To learn more about inlays and onlays, call us at the Eagle Family Smiles at (610) 458-5165 today!