About Inlays and Onlays
When more than half of a patient’s tooth is missing or damaged to a degree such that the integrity of the tooth is compromised, a filling may no longer be the best treatment choice. In situations such as these, board-certified dentist, Dr. Todd McCracken, at Laser Smile Studio in Denton, TX will assess the extent of the tooth’s damage and determine whether the tooth would benefit from an inlay, an onlay or whether the tooth will need a full crown. Both an inlay and onlay will make use of the existing tooth and create a partial crown. This process usually restores the shape of the tooth and can prevent it from further damage.
Inlays and onlays are often referred to as partial crowns because they are similar in their use of the existing tooth, but they do not cover it entirely, like a crown does. For this Dr. McCracken will use the existing tooth as a base for the inlay or onlay. This process will usually strengthen and salvage the tooth while restoring its shape and preventing further damage. An inlay can only be performed when is no present damage to the cusps of the tooth. An onlay may be necessary when the tooth has suffered more damage than can be repaired by an inlay, but is still too intact for a full crown.
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What to Expect
Before an inlay or onlay is placed, the decayed portion of the tooth must be removed. Dr. McCracken will gently remove the decay, and then take an impression of the tooth to be treated. The dental impressions will be sent to our lab, where a custom tooth restoration will be made from composite resin. While the restoration is created, a temporary inlay or onlay will be used to protect the tooth. Upon the completion of the restoration, patients will be scheduled to come back to the office for the placement of the permanent restoration. Because of our use of composite resin, or tooth-colored materials, our inlays and onlays typically match the patient’s smiles without issue.
After the dental procedure there could be minor discomfort around the inlay or onlay. However, most patients adapt immediately to chewing with the new surface. At times, the soft tissue around the tooth that received the restoration can be sore or sensitive to hot and cold temperatures while eating or drinking. These minor problems discomforts usually subside within a few days. Dr. McCracken will instruct patients on the best care for their new restoration after their placement. In most situations, inlays and onlays will last patients around 10 years with the proper care and oral hygiene routine.
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The dental team at Laser Smile Studio and our skilled physician, Dr. McCracken, will go to great lengths to help patients maintain their natural teeth. Our use of inlays and onlays will help to revitalize a patient’s healthy smile without the need for more invasive methods. If you are suffering from a damaged tooth, but are not sure you are a candidate for a full dental crown, please considering contacting our office today. We would be glad to answer your questions, and set up a consultation with Dr. McCracken at your earliest convenience. Give us a call today.