Tooth Decay Treatment in Stockton CA

What Are Inlays and Onlays?

Inlays and Onlays can often be used in place of traditional dental fillings to treat tooth decay or similar structural damage. Inlays and onlays are similar to a filling but are used when a more durable material is desired for longevity.

An inlay is typically adhered inside the cusp tips of the tooth, whereas an onlay is used for more substantial reconstructions. An onlay is designed to extend beyond one or more of the cusps of the tooth. It is designed to strengthen a tooth by wrapping around the cusps to avoid splitting or fracturing a weakened cusp.

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Inlays and Onlays vs. Traditional Fillings

Traditional dental fillings are usually molded into place within the mouth during a dental visit; whereas inlays and onlays are prefabricated in a dental lab before being fitted and bonded to the damaged tooth by a dentist.

Am I a Good Candidate for Inlays/Onlays?

  • Patients who do not have deep root cavities are a good candidate for porcelain onlays. If the cavity on the root is deeper, a gold restoration is more ideal.
  • Gold is a better restoration for someone who is a bruxer (grinds their teeth) or someone who wants a more long lasting restoration.

Benefits of Inlays and Onlays

There are many benefits to inlays and onlays, they include the following:

  • More durable than hand filled restoration.
  • Benefit of covering and protecting one or more weakened cusps.
  • Preservation of tooth structure.

When the tooth does not need the whole tooth prepped for strength and retention, the inlay or onlay can restore the defective part of the tooth and preserve much of the original tooth structure. Alongside this benefit, an onlay has the benefit of covering and protecting one or more weakened cusps. In deep areas below the gum line, a gold inlay can be fitted to the tooth with great precision and seal the tooth completely.

Types of Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and onlays have become increasingly popular and they now offer many different types to choose from. These include the following:

  • Gold
  • Porcelain
  • Resin

Gold inlays and onlays are the most durable material and have a similar wear factor to enamel. Thus they will last longer and will not wear down the opposing tooth. Gold is still the “gold standard”. Gold and resin inlays are the most conservative as they can go into a smaller cavity to restore a tooth.

You might ask, what if I don’t want gold and I want it to look like a tooth? One option is a resin inlay or onlay, which was used often in years past, but the durability was not as strong as porcelain and are used less frequently today.

A final option is a porcelain inlays or onlays. The advantage is they can be matched more closely to the tooth color and still preserve much of the tooth that is present. The strength comes from the material and the bond to the tooth which is under the restoration.

How Many Appointments Will I Need?

Newer scanning and milling devices can allow some inlays and onlays to be done in one visit in office. The one visit milled inlays and onlays tend to be a little more one color (monochromatic) whereas inlays and onlays created in a lab from an experienced technician can be more life-like and esthetically have a greater beauty to the restoration. Dr. Scott will discuss which option would be best for you.

Inlay and Onlay Procedure

At Deer Park Dental, the first visit for an inlay and onlay involves appropriate x-rays along with periodontal probings. If cavities are present, stabilization of the tooth and periodontal structures are recommended first. This will include the removal of decay/damage and creation of an impression of the tooth. An impression of the opposing teeth will be made to create a restoration that will fit well with the existing bite or occlusion. This visit will range from one to two hours.

The second dental visit at Deer Park Dental will be to numb the tooth if sensitive (some patients chose to have cementation without anesthetic). The temporary is removed, the tooth is cleaned and prepared for cementation or bonding with different chemicals. When a restoration is being bonded then a rubber dam is often placed to isolate the area from moisture and any contaminants for a better seal of the restoration. The bite will be checked and verified as well as the contacts and color prior to cementation.

Inlays and Onlays Side Effects

Some teeth will be sensitive for cold or hot briefly after being placed. This sensitivity is generally gone within a couple of months. Otherwise, the restoration should feel smooth and like a natural tooth. These restoration can restore the damaged teeth and provide a beautiful smile.

Inlay & Onlay Patient Testimonial

“Always have great visits here. All the staff is very courteous, friendly and professional from the receptionists to the doctors. Dr. von Tersch makes filling cavities relaxing, as hard as that is to believe. I actually fell asleep.”

– Justin Penland

Read more Patient Testimonials 

How To Care For Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and onlays are a strong and stable option for minimal tooth reconstruction or filling. Regular brushing and flossing, as well as regular dental checkups, should be continued after the procedure is complete.

How long do Inlays and Onlays last?

  • Porcelain is a weaker material and is more susceptible to fracture. If one is a bruxer, it is not recommended in the farthest back teeth. As you move forward to the front teeth, the forces of chewing are less and are at less risk of fracture. Porcelain crowns can last five to ten years or longer but they can also be at risk of fracture and can chip in a shorter period of time with undue forces.
  • Gold is very strong and can last a lifetime. If a cavity starts next to a gold or porcelain restoration, that can necessitate replacing the restoration. Good oral hygiene and diet is critical to extending the life of a restoration.

Schedule a Consultation

Call Deer Park Dental at 209-478-3036 for a consultation today to see what is right for you!