In situations where tooth decay is too extensive for a dental filling to provide adequate protection, inlays and onlays are often an excellent option to repair your damaged tooth. Whenever possible, Dr. Heather Fleschler will recommend inlays and onlays instead of a dental crown.
Inlays and onlays preserve much more of your healthy tooth structure than a dental crown. By opting for this more conservative treatment plan, you can prolong the life and health of your tooth.
The best way to determine whether inlays and onlays are the right option to repair your damaged tooth is to speak with Dr. Fleschler in person. Please call 713-660-6500 today to schedule an appointment at our Houston dental office.
What Are Inlays And Onlays?
Inlays are used to repair teeth when the decay lies within the cusps (indented top surfaces) of the tooth. Onlays are used when the decay extends beyond one or more cusps of the tooth.
Dr. Fleschler has a metal-free dentistry practice in order to provide you with the safest, most natural looking restorations. All of our inlays and onlays are made out of the finest quality dental porcelain, ensuring that they will maintain the strength and function of your tooth while blending in seamlessly with your smile.
Benefits Of Inlays And Onlays
Inlays and onlays offer several important benefits, including:
- Restores structural integrity of tooth
- Prevents the development of more extensive damage in the future, helping you avoid the need for more costly treatments down the road
- Preserves more healthy tooth structure than a dental crown, extending the life of your tooth
- Can be designed to match the color of your natural tooth for a beautiful looking result
- Durable, long lasting restorations
- Increases the strength of your tooth
"Dr. Fleschler is the best dentist I've ever been to, and the only dentist I've been to in whom I've had complete confidence. She does an excellent, careful job. She explains what she's doing and why. Her offices are beautiful and very professional. Her staff, such as Marcy, Nancy and Lisa, are really excellent as well. I'm very happy with Dr. Fleschler's office and wouldn't consider going anywhere else."
What is the Inlay And Onlay Procedure?
Your inlay or onlay procedure can be completed in two visits to our Houston dental office. At your first visit, Dr. Fleschler will remove the decayed area of your tooth and take an impression which will be used by the lab in constructing your inlay or onlay. She will then place a temporary inlay or onlay which will protect your tooth while the permanent restoration is being created.
When your inlay or onlay has been completed by the lab, you will return to our office and Dr. Fleschler will securely bond it to your tooth.
What is Different about an Onlay versus an Inlay?
Inlays and onlays are so commonly referred to at the same time that it may feel a bit confusing. Each of these restorations addresses damage, usually that which is caused by a cavity. First, we should state that inlays and onlays are different than fillings in that they're made in a dental lab, not directly in the tooth. Inlays are used for smaller areas of damage that are within the four cusps (corners) of a tooth, on the chewing surface. Onlays are made for larger areas of damage that have extended over one or more of the tooth's cusps.
What is the Difference between an Onlay and a Dental Crown?
Dental inlays and onlays are unique restorations. They fall in between fillings and crowns on the continuum of restorative care. While inlays can be used for small cavities, Dr. Fleschler may recommend a tooth-colored composite filling for very small areas of decay. Inlays are for slightly larger areas. Onlays are for even larger areas of damage on and just over a tooth's chewing surface. A dental crown is needed when a significant portion of the tooth has been compromised by a cavity or other injury. This restoration fits entirely over the tooth and requires more reduction of the natural tooth structure.
Are there Disadvantages to Getting an Inlay or Onlay?
These dental restorations are considered very effective and long-lasting. With proper care, an inlay or onlay can last decades! Because each is customized to fit into the tooth and is bonded to the tooth using the latest techniques, there is little risk of subsequent damage to the tooth (as there can be with standard silver fillings). The only disadvantage that could be associated with the inlay or onlay treatment is the process requires two visits to the office. You may wear a temporary restoration for a week or two in between these visits while your final restoration is being fabricated in the dental lab. Unless you consider two visits a disadvantage, there really isn't a downside to getting an inlay or onlay versus a standard filling.
How Do I Care for My Inlay or Onlay?
Like all dental restorations, your inlay or onlay requires good oral care to remain strong and intact over time. Fortunately, you can sustain a durable inlay or onlay using the same strategies that promote healthy teeth and gums. To maximize the lifespan of your restoration, and your natural teeth, we recommend brushing your teeth twice a day. Optimal brushing takes about two to three minutes. After brushing at night, floss your teeth. There's no need to spend extra time around the inlay or onlay. The purpose of flossing is to remove the sticky biofilm that can harbor bacteria that could degrade your teeth and gums. Lastly, see your dentist every six months. During these routine exams, Dr. Fleschler will carefully observe all of your restorations to ensure they are in good working order.