Benefits Associated With Inlays/Onlays

An inlay is a restoration that is produced in a laboratory from metal (non-precious and precious),porcelain/ceramic or composite to restore a tooth to its usual shape,function and appearance.It is designed to fit in to cavity within the tooth which is especially prepared by the dentist after the removal of an old filling/decay etc.
An onlay is almost the same as an inlay except that the biting surface of the tooth is generally covered by the restoration.Often the restoration work together with both an inlay and an onlay, for that reason supplying protection to the remaining tooth without the removal of too much of the remaining tooth structure as with a crown/bridge.They work especially well in back teeth to prevent breaks of the remaining tooth that could result in the need for extraction and loss of the tooth affected.As with all restoration involving preparation of the tooth, the risk to the nerve should be considered despite the fact as the preparation is considerably less than with a crown/bridge, the likelihood of long-term injury to the nerve is far less.
You would need an inlay/onlay where there is a large cavity in one of your back teeth (premolar or molar) and the alternative filling materials (amalgam/composite) are considered unsuitable.
Where a back tooth is broken down/heavily restored and in danger of possible fracture you would need an inlay/onlay.Frequently the only bit of your tooth that is left is a thin shell consisting of the outer walls of the tooth.If a crown were to be offered, it would involve the removal of the only remaining tooth tissue,and for that reason an inlay/onlay with ‘cuspal’ protection would be indicated.
There are a few advantages of inlays/onlays over crowns or conventional filling materials.The preparation of the teeth is far lower than with a crown therefore leaving more of the natural tooth structure.It is easier to set up an ideal occlusal (biting surface) shape to further protect the remaining tooth structure than with conventional filling materials.This is particularly true when cuspal protection is included in the design of the inlay/onlay.The life expectancy of the inlay/onlay is likely to be better than than for large restoration using conventional filling materials.An all metal inlay/onlay needs less tooth reduction than a porcelain or ceramic one as the metal can be done to a thinner edge.
Before treatment the dentist should assess the tooth,which may include taking an x-ray.A period of six months after the treatment may then be indicated to assess the outcome of the therapy.In the case that the treatment failed to resolve the issue, extraction could be the best choice and consideration of alternative replacements.
Please make certain you have let your dentist know of any health problems,drugs or allergies prior to treatment.
Your dentist will numb the area with local anaesthetic if required and then prepare the tooth for the inlay/onlay.An impression will be taken and a temporary inlay/restoration provided to protect the tooth.
Usually one to two weeks later the inlay can be cemented in to the tooth using a special dental glue.If local anaesthetic was used for the preparation ,it may be needed to enable the placement of the restoration.
Your dentist will give you advice how to keep your new restoration clean and which dental aids to use to do this.
After treatment the tooth/teeth may feel moderately strange to your tongue and also to bite on for the first few days, but this normally settles quickly.
You should continue to brush effectively using fluoridated tooth paste and also follow the care routine that your dentist advised to ensure that you maintain good oral hygiene.Whilst your inlay/onlay cannot decay,the adjacent tooth structure can which could lead to loss of the inlay/onlay or even the tooth.

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