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What Are Inlays and Onlays?

By Dr. Silvers on March 20, 2013


What Are Inlays and Onlays?Tooth damage and tooth decay can cause major dental health and dental aesthetics issues. In the case of aesthetics, cracked, chipped, broken, or decayed teeth are often a source of self-consciousness. They can make people unwilling to smile, laugh, or talk, even around people they've known for years. These dental problems can also make it very hard to eat certain foods, and may result in tooth sensitivity or tooth pain.

It's for that reason that you should meet with a Harrisburg cosmetic dentist to learn all about your options for effective dental treatment. In the case of major tooth decay and tooth damage, inlays and onlays tend to be a good option.

About Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and onlays are dental restorations designed to replace large amounts of damaged tooth material. They are similar to dental fillings in many ways, but can replace more of a tooth's structure, even the cusps or biting surfaces of the teeth. The team at our family dental care center in Harrisburg will determine if inlays and onlays are right for you during your visit.

Best Candidates for Inlays and Onlays

The best candidates for inlays and onlays are people who have experienced major tooth decay or tooth injury that is too severe for a dental filling yet not serious enough to necessitate the use of a dental crown. These patients should have realistic expectations about what inlays and onlays can achieve, as this tends to improve patient satisfaction after the procedure is performed.

The Inlays and Onlays Procedure

During this Harrisburg restorative dentistry treatment, the first step is the removal of the damaged or decayed tooth structure. Once that is completed, an impression of the prepped teeth is then taken. From this impression, the inlay or onlay will be custom crafted. Temporary inlays and onlays will be worn in the meantime.

Once the inlays and onlays have been crafted (generally five business days or so), patients return to the practice to receive their permanent inlay or onlay. The temporary restorations are removed and final adjustments are made to the permanent inlay/onlay before it is adhered in place.

Inlays and Onlays vs. Dental Fillings and Dental Crowns

You'll note that inlays and onlays are in a middle position as dental restorations between fillings and dental crowns. Generally, our Harrisburg cosmetic and restorative dentists want to work conservatively with your tooth structure. The less natural tooth structure that needs to be removed, the better it is for patients in the long run.

Making the Best Decision for Your Needs

Our goal is to make sure that you achieve and maintain optimal dental health whether you receive a dental filling, an inlay, an onlay, or a dental crown. We'll also make sure that you understand all the pros and cons associated with any treatment you may undergo so you can make confident, empowered decisions about your dental health.

Learn More About Cosmetic and Restorative Dentistry

For more information about inlays, onlays, and other options for treating tooth damage and tooth decay, be sure to contact our Harrisburg cosmetic and restorative dentists today. The entire team here looks forward to meeting you in person and helping you achieve the best possible dental health.

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