Once a tooth is damaged, patients are highly advised to seek immediate assistance to have the tooth fixed. If restorative actions are not taken, a simple issue can take a turn for the worse. To patients who are having a tough time deciding the best course of action, know that there are several options available.
Our dentist at Willow Wood Dental will assess the condition of the patient’s tooth. If the damage is minor, having the tooth filled with tooth-colored fillings would work. However, if the case affects a more significant portion of a tooth, getting dental crowns would be ideal since it may even provide additional support for the structure. How about if the damage is quite large for fillings but not too extensive to require a crown? The answer – inlays or onlays!
An inlay is placed on the chewing surface of a tooth usually covering the middle portion without reaching the cusps or the elevated parts of a tooth. On the other hand, an onlay is often referred to as a partial crown since it can cover the entire chewing surface of a tooth (including the cusps).
Getting an inlay or onlay is quite similar to getting dental crowns. The dentist would determine whether an onlay or inlay is needed for the tooth. Afterward, enamel reduction will begin to make way for the prosthesis. Unlike with crowns, fewer tooth structures will be removed; making it a more conservative approach for restoration. Patients are assured that more of the good structures can be preserved.
To create perfectly fitted prostheses, impressions of the teeth are taken after preparation and temporaries are applied on the teeth to keep them protected while waiting for the permanent teeth. The records are then sent to a laboratory which will handle the fabrication. After they are done, the patient would be required to return for its fitting. Unlike the traditional type of fillings, inlays and onlays are prostheses bonded on the chewing surfaces using special adhesives. That said, the procedure needs at least two appointments for completion.
On the next appointment, the prosthesis will be placed on the tooth, and the dentist would check if it fits properly. If not, adjustments will be performed to guarantee a snug fit that prevents harmful substances from gaining access under the prosthesis in the long run.