Inlays and Onlays
One of the most common dental issues suffered by millions of individuals is cavities. Despite being commonly associated with kids, cavities can impact the oral health of anyone, children and adults alike. Fillings are generally used to treat cavities, providing an ideal restoration for your oral health. However, placing fillings on the chewing surfaces of your molars can compromise your teeth further. North Atlanta Family Dentistry can treat these more complicated cavities with inlays and onlays.
Amalgam and Composite Fillings
Most cavities can be treated using amalgam or composite fillings. Amalgam fillings are the most traditional fillings. These fillings are made up of a mixture of metals, including copper, tin, silver, and nickel, suspended in mercury. They are incredibly strong, which often makes them ideal for cavities affecting teeth at the back of the arch. Composite fillings are a more modern alternative to amalgam, providing a tooth-colored option ideal for treating cavities affecting teeth near the front of your mouth.
While both of these types of fillings are beneficial for many situations, cavities on the chewing surfaces of your molars can present unique problems. Chewing pressures can drive an amalgam filling deeper into the tooth, essentially turning it into a wedge that causes the tooth to crack or split. These same pressures can cause a composite filling to wear out quickly or even shatter completely.
Inlays and Onlays
Inlays and onlays are fillings that provide an option to treat cavities on the chewing surfaces of your molars. Rather than compromising the affected teeth, they help to restore strength. Inlays and onlays are both known as indirect fillings, meaning that they are created outside of the tooth, rather than cured inside of it. Inlays are used to treat cavities between the cusps of your molars. Onlays, also called partial crowns, are used when the cusps are affected. This particular type of filling functions to not only restore the health of your tooth but build its structure back up as well.
Placing Your Inlays or Onlays
Both inlays and onlays typically require two appointments. During the first appointment, we prepare the cavity. This is not unlike preparing a cavity for a traditional filling. The tooth is cleaned, and the decay is eliminated from the affected area. Once the tooth is completely cleaned, we then take an impression. The impression is sent to our dental lab, which uses the image to design and create a custom inlay or onlay. Because it can take a couple of weeks before your next appointment, a temporary filling is placed to help protect your tooth while you wait. Once the inlay or onlay is ready, we check to ensure it fits properly and that your bite is completely natural. If no adjustments are needed, the filling is bonded into place inside of the cavity, providing you with immediate protection.
Benefits of Inlays and Onlays
Inlays and onlays provide many benefits.
Inlays and onlays provide a perfect solution for cavities on the chewing surfaces of your molars. For more information, and to find out if inlays and onlays are right for you, call North Atlanta Family Dentistry at (470) 387-0500 today.