Inlays and Onlays
Cavities are a common oral health issue that affects the teeth of millions of individuals of all ages. Cavities form as a result of tooth decay, which occurs when acids from plaque and bacteria erode your protective tooth enamel. The acids eat away at the enamel, causing it to become weaker. These spots of decay can eventually form into small pits known as cavities.
In most cases, cavities can be treated with fillings. However, cavities in the chewing surfaces of your molars present unique problems. Nicholas W. Feldman, DDS, MBA can fill these cavities with inlays and onlays.
Cavity Treatment with Fillings
Fillings are a very common treatment for cavities. There are two types, amalgam, and composite resin. Amalgam fillings are made up of a mixture of metals, including tin, copper, silver, and nickel, that are suspended in mercury. These fillings are known for their superior strength. Composite resin fillings are made up of a mixture of fine glass, plastic, and other materials. These fillings are tooth colored, which helps them to blend in with the rest of your natural tooth structure.
These fillings are effective in many situations. However, cavities in the chewing surfaces of your molars can present complications. The molars receive more biting and chewing pressures than the front teeth. Amalgam fillings can be forced deeper into the molars, causing the tooth to fracture or split. Composite fillings are not as strong as amalgam and can wear down quickly or shatter under pressure.
Inlays and Onlays
Inlays and onlays are types of fillings that provide an alternative to traditional fillings. Inlays are meant to fill cavities that affect the crevices in your molars. Onlays, also called partial crowns, are used for treating cavities that affect the cusps of your molars. Both of these fillings are called indirect fillings. Instead of being cured inside of the tooth, they are instead created in a lab from impressions of your teeth. They can be made from many different materials, with porcelain being one of the most popular options.
Placing Your Inlays or Onlays
The process for getting an inlay or onlay takes a little longer than placing a traditional crown, typically requiring two separate appointments. At your first appointment, we clean the decay away from the cavity, a process that is done under a local anesthetic. After the decay is removed, an impression of your teeth is taken. The impression is sent to our dental lab, where your inlay or onlay is designed and created. It can take up to two weeks for the restoration to be completed, so a temporary filling is placed. At your second appointment, the temporary filling is removed, and your inlay or onlay is checked for fit and a natural bite. If everything looks good, your restoration is bonded into place inside of the cavity.
Inlay and Onlay Benefits
Inlays and onlays provide many benefits. These include:
||Strengthening your tooth, rather than potentially compromising it.
||Preserving more of your natural tooth structure.
||Affordable treatment. Both inlays and onlays are more affordable, as well as much less invasive, than dental crowns.
Cavities might start small, but they can grow larger and larger, posing serious risks for your oral health. If you suspect you have a cavity, it is important to seek treatment right away. Call Nicholas W. Feldman, DDS, MBA at (907) 802-4519 today to schedule your appointment.