Unlike large, ugly metal fillings of years past, The Medical Center Dental Group prefers a more attractive restoration that actually strengthens the tooth. Inlays and onlays are the perfect solution to creating healthy, beautiful restorations for your teeth.
What was wrong with my old fillings?
In recent years, dentists have learned that the metal fillings in your mouth act much like metal does outside the mouth. Exposed to heat and cold, such as hot coffee or ice cream, the metal fillings in your teeth expand and contract. As they shift, they can actually weaken the teeth they were meant to protect. Often, the expansion and contraction leads to the entire tooth cracking.
As the filling expands and contracts, it can also leave a small opening where harmful bacteria can enter and become trapped, leading to further decay of the tooth. Fracture lines in teeth create further avenues for decay to occur. Rarely do any of our doctors remove silver fillings without finding additional decay underneath.
Why would I want an inlay or onlay
instead of a metal filling?
An inlay or onlay is a much more conservative restoration for the tooth than a metal filling. While traditional fillings can reduce tooth strength up to 50%, inlays and onlays made of high strength porcelain can actually increase tooth strength by up to 75%, lasting from 10 to 30 years.
What is an inlay?
Inlays, similar to a filling, are used inside the cusp (tips) of a tooth. Inlays are created out of fired porcelain, allowing the doctors to perfectly match the color of your natural tooth, making the restoration invisible to the naked eye. Much like a crown, the doctor will create a temporary inlay for your tooth, take an impression, and send the model to the lab for the porcelain restoration. You will need to return to the office to have the final inlay bonded to the tooth and polished.
What is an onlay?
Onlays are made of fired porcelain, just like inlays. However, onlays are a more substantial reconstruction, extending out over one or more of the cusps of the tooth. Where a crown may have been necessary, an onlay can often be used to repair the damaged portion of the tooth, leaving much more of the original tooth structure intact.
Onlays are also made in the lab, and will require a return visit. Your temporary will hold up to normal wear until your return appointment.