What are inlays and onlays? How do they work to help a person get over their dental issues? This article will talk about the difference between these two tooth restoration techniques and how they are used. After reading the article, please visit MydentistWestRyde.com.au today for any of your dental needs.

What are dental inlays and onlays?

Dental inlays and onlays are used when the damage to the tooth is too extensive that a simple tooth filling will no longer be able to do the job, and the damage is too minimal to call for the use of a dental crown. They are considered to be “indirect” fillings. This means that they are fillings that are made outside the mouth of the patient, in contrast to direct fillings which are fitted directly onto the tooth.

Inlays and onlays

What is the difference between a dental inlay and onlay? There are slight differences although their general use to repair the tooth and restore it to its former health is the same for both.

Dental inlay

A dental inlay refers to an indirect filling that is small enough to fit in the middle of the cusps, or little points, of a molar tooth. Dental inlays are usually applied to tooth cavities that are in the middle of the tooth.

Dental onlay

The indirect filling is considered a dental onlay if it covers one or more of the cusps on the molar. Dental onlays are used for damage that is a little more extensive than those that need dental inlays.

Regardless of which type of indirect filling is used on a certain tooth, the procedure to apply a dental inlay and onlay is similar.

How do they work?

inlays and onlaysJust like regular fillings that are applied directly onto cavities on teeth, dental inlays and onlays work to prevent cavities from spreading and getting bigger. Dental crowns have a similar function for a tooth as well. However, the difference lies in how much of the natural tooth has to be removed for each treatment.

For dental onlays and inlays, the rotten part of the tooth is removed and the dental onlay or inlay is put to make the tooth “whole” again. This process will restore the tooth to optimal health.

The maintenance of dental inlays and onlays

After the dentist finishes applying the dental inlay or onlay, the patient will be advised to wait a few hours for the filling to set and dry before they can have a drink of water or food.

A person who has just had a dental onlay or inlay put on one of their teeth will not have to change very much about their regular dental routine to maintain the filling. Proper brushing and flossing will still have to be done to maintain the health of the tooth.

If after some time, the dental onlay or inlay falls off the tooth, visit a dentist and they will be able to put a new one in place. If you are unable to get a replacement put in, you risk causing further damage to the cavity of the tooth.