Inlays and Onlays
When you have a cavity, treatment is needed. Without it, the acids that are produced by plaque and oral bacteria continue to destroy the affected tooth. Over time, the tooth becomes weak and compromised. Typically, cavities are treated with amalgam or composite resin fillings. While these fillings are effective in many situations, there are other situations in which they can jeopardize the health of your tooth. One such situation is a cavity on the chewing surface of a molar. These cavities are better treated with inlays or onlays. Crown Hill Smiles can help.
Traditional Cavity Treatment
Cavities are typically treated in one of two ways, amalgam fillings or composite resin fillings. Amalgam fillings consist of several metals that are suspended in liquid mercury. Once the filling material is cured, it is incredibly hard. These fillings can stand up to strong bite forces, including the pressure exerted at the back of the mouth. While strong, however, these fillings raise several concerns for many patients. Along with being silver in color, their metal and mercury content are often unfavorable.
Composite resin fillings offer an alternative. These fillings consist of fine glass, plastic, and other materials. Their biggest advantage is that, due to their color, they blend in beautifully with the rest of the tooth. Composite resin also does not contain metal or mercury. However, this material is not nearly as strong as amalgam.
Inlays and Onlays
Both amalgam and composite resin fillings can create problems if placed on the chewing surface of your molar. Bite pressure can force amalgam deeper into the cavity, turning it into a wedge that splits your tooth in half. Composite resin is not strong enough for this area, and can, therefore, wear down quickly and break.
Inlays and onlays are the solutions for these tricky cavities. Made of porcelain, these fillings are what are known as indirect fillings. Rather than being cured inside the tooth, they are created outside of it in a dental lab. They are designed to strengthen the tooth, rather than compromise it. Inlays are used in cavities that are in only one cusp of your molar, whereas onlays, which are often called partial crowns, are used to rebuild the structure of a tooth that has had two or more cusps affected.
Benefits of Inlays and Onlays
Both inlays and onlays offer numerous benefits:
Restoring Your Tooth with an Indirect Filling
Treating a cavity with an inlay or onlay requires two separate visits. At your first visit, we clear the decay from the cavity and take an impression. The impression is then sent to a dental lab, where they take care of designing and fabricating your filling. Because it can take up to two weeks for the filling to be completed, a temporary filling is placed to protect the tooth from harm. Once the filling is ready, you return for your second appointment. The filling is checked for fit and then cemented securely in place.
If you have a cavity on the chewing surface of one of your molars, you may benefit from an inlay or onlay. Call Crown Hill Smiles to schedule your consultation today at (206) 204-9623.