Cosmetic dentistry focuses on improving the aesthetics of your mouth, specifically that of your teeth and smile. And, while cosmetic dentistry procedures aren’t really necessary, certain treatment options can also have restorative benefits.
Inlays and onlays are a good example of cosmetic dentistry procedures that have both aesthetic and restorative benefits.
What Is It?
Dental inlays or onlays are generally bigger than fillings, but much smaller than crowns. They can either be cemented or bonded into place, depending on what’s best for a particular case.
Inlays work similar to fillings, but are placed somewhere inside the chewing surface of your tooth. On the other hand, onlays are much larger and are usually used to replace cusps that have already decayed.
Both can be made out of composite resin, ceramics or even gold and are known to last for years, sometimes even decades.
The variety in longevity depends on the following factors: The material used, how many teeth are involved, how often you chew hard substances and how well you take care of your teeth.
Use, Preparation and Benefits
Inlays and onlays are used to restore damaged or decayed teeth to their original look.
During the procedure, the dentist will numb the affected tooth or teeth and the surrounding area with local anesthesia. Though, it is possible to ask to be given nitrous oxide instead, or opt for another type of sedation.
There are two types of inlays – direct and indirect. The former are made in the dental office and can be placed in a single visit. The latter is custom-made in a laboratory and will require more visits.
- Direct inlays and onlays – The dentist will remove the decayed or dead part and shape the tooth. A soft material is then placed on the tooth and molded to fit. It is then removed and made to harden using a special oven. Once it’s ready, the dentist will cement the now-hardened inlay or onlay to the affected tooth where it will be polished soon after. It may also be necessary for your dentist to adjust its shape to better fit your teeth’s overall look.
- Indirect inlays and onlays – Like with direct inlays, the dentist will clean out the affected tooth. But, instead of fitting a mold, an impression is made of the affected tooth and its neighboring teeth. A temporary filling is then placed on the affected tooth while the impression is sent to a dental laboratory where the inlay or onlay is made.
- Once the inlay or onlay is ready, the dentist will take out the temporary filling and clean out the tooth. The now-permanent inlay or onlay is then cemented and polished. Again, slight reshaping may be necessary to make it fit well with the rest of your teeth.
Maintenance and Care
Inlays and onlays require the same kind of maintenance as your original teeth – regular brushing, flossing, rinsing with mouthwash and of course, regular trips to the dentist.
You may want to avoid chewing hard substances such as ice or hard candy once you have inlays and onlays cemented in place. This is because chewing on such substances can cause the inlay or onlay to crack or even fall out.
Speaking of chewing, if grind your teeth regularly, especially while you sleep, you may want to ask your dentist for a night guard to protect your teeth and inlays or onlays from the constant pressure of grinding.
All in all, inlays and onlays are a great way to strengthen your teeth, restore it to its original shape and prevent any further damage from decay.
For more information on Inlays and Onlays contact Theodore Haines DDS at 360-568-8577. Learn more about the services he offers by visiting the website at tedhainesdds.com.
Dr. Haines of Snohomish, CA also proudly accepts patients from Monroe, Lake Stevens, Everett, Mill Creek, Woodinville, and surrounding areas.