What Are Inlays and Onlays?

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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.

Fighting Periodontal Disease – Keeping Your Teeth Healthy and Clean

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Gum disease hits almost everyone. Though, middle-aged adults are the ones who typically suffer from some form of it. In its earliest form, gum disease or periodontal disease will lead to swelling and bleeding gums. If left untreated for a long time, gum disease can and will lead to loss of teeth.

The point here is if you’d like to keep your teeth the way they are, complete and beautiful to look at, you better start taking better care of them.

What Causes Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is widely recognized as the result of dental plaque build-up in your mouth and teeth. While plaque is a sticky substance that naturally forms on the teeth, its build-up can be prevented by regularly brushing, flossing and rinsing with mouthwash. If left unchecked, however, plaque build-up will cause your gums to start bleeding or swelling, an early sign of gingivitis. In worse cases, your teeth will slowly start becoming loose, a sign of severe periodontitis.

There are also cases where the plaque hardens or calcifies over time, turning into calculus or better-known as tartar. The tartar attracts even more plaque, which in turn causes your dental problems to grow even worse than it already is.

The Different Risk Factors Involved

While regular visits to the dentist on top of proper oral hygiene are both equally important, it’s also important for you to know the different risk factors involved in keeping your teeth healthy and free of periodontal disease.

  • Genetics – Some people are genetically predisposition and more prone to suffering from periodontal disease more than others. Though, practicing good oral care can help control and even prevent the disease.
  • Regular consumption of tobacco and alcohol – Smoking can either lead to periodontal disease or make it worse. The same goes for alcohol. Avoiding regular consumption of both substances, especially tobacco, can help keep gum disease under control.
  • Misaligned and crowded teeth – Misaligned and crowded teeth promotes plaque and tartar formation, something that we all already now know will eventually lead to gum disease. And, while orthodontics can help fix both problems, having braces and bridgework isn’t exactly all good news either as both procedures make it more difficult to brush or floss teeth. Consult your dental practitioner ASAP and ask for help on how to best brush and floss your teeth to prevent plaque buildup.
  • Stress – Stress weakens your immune system, making it less likely that your body can fight against bacteria. Living a stress-free of a life as possible is key to controlling and preventing gum disease.
  • Puberty and Pregnancy – Going through puberty or pregnancy can temporarily put you at risk of periodontal disease or make it worse. The same goes for menopause or basically, any other condition that makes your body’s hormone levels fluctuate.
  • Medication – Medicines with side effects that include dry mouth may make you more susceptible to gum disease. The lack of saliva encourages the formation of plaque, resulting in tooth decay. There are also certain medicines that cause enlarged gums, encouraging the production of plaque even more.
  • Diseases – Diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and HIV all are diseases that have been linked to increased risk for periodontal disease. Though, like with genetics, proper oral care and help from a good periodontist can help make periodontal disease more manageable, or even prevent it from happening.
  • Malnutrition – We all know that proper nutrition and diet is good for our overall health and oral health included. Also, the lack of certain vitamins and minerals, such as in the case of scurvy, which is often the result of severe vitamin C deficiency, can cause bleeding gums.


Periodontal disease is preventable. Make an appointment today with Theodore Haines DDS for a check-up and cleaning to make sure your gums stay healthy. Call 360-568-8577 or visit 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.