What are Dental Inlays and Onlays?
At Rosas Family Dentistry of Clear Lake, TX we pride ourselves in providing the highest quality dental care for you and your family. Because your dental needs are unique to you, you should expect your dental treatment to be customized as well. Advances in dental technology now allow different options when restoring your dental decay. While fillings and crowns are most commonly used when removing and restoring areas of tooth decay, a great alternative to these treatments are inlays and onlays.
Why Not Use a Filling or Crown?
Typically, fillings are used when there is a small cavity in the tooth. They are made of a tooth colored composite resin and are minimally invasive to your tooth. When decay is a bit larger or there is a fracture in the tooth surface, a ceramic or porcelain crown is typically recommended to completely cover and protect the tooth. However, when decay is too large for a filling but not quite severe enough for a crown, a dental inlay or onlay may be your best option.
Our Clear Lake dentist uses advanced skills to provide you with the best treatment for your needs while also providing a comfortable and relaxed experience.
When tooth decay is deeper or larger than what a typical composite filling can restore, a dental inlay provides the perfect solution. A dental inlay is stronger than a filling but not as invasive as a crown. Inlays are used in the chewing portion of your back teeth, and do not involve the cusps (pointed edges) of the tooth. Similar to a composite filling, decay is removed from the tooth structure and the restoration fits perfectly into effected area. The materials used for your dental inlay, however, are made of a ceramic or composite resin material that is stronger than that of a filling and is able to withstand heavier bite forces, similar to a dental crown.
Your dental inlay is custom-made in our lab, just like a crown would be, so you can rest assured that it will fit perfectly into your prepared tooth. Our lab is able to match your inlay to your tooth color so the result is a beautiful and natural looking. Other materials are also available, depending on which tooth is being treated and the size of the restoration.
Onlays are similar to dental inlays but cover a larger portion of your tooth, including the chewing portion as well as one or more cusps (pointed edges.) Some people refer to them as “three-quarter crowns.”
Onlays are a great alternative to a dental crown when a more conservative restoration is all that’s needed. While a crown covers the entire visible portion of your tooth, a dental onlay typically covers about half or two-thirds of the tooth, allowing you to preserve more of your natural tooth structure. As with dental inlays, the materials used to custom make your onlay are strong, long lasting ceramic or a similar material like what’s used in dental crowns. Visible onlays match your natural tooth perfectly and withstand heavy bite forces.
How Long do Dental Inlays and Onlays Last?
One of the biggest benefits of dental inlays and onlays is the fact that they are durable and long lasting. With good dental hygiene habits, you can expect your inlay or onlay to last anywhere from 5-20 years. Following your dentist’s and hygienist’s recommendations, brushing and flossing twice daily is expected, as well as any other instructions given. Maintaining frequent preventative care appointments will allow our Clear Lake dentist to evaluate your restoration for damage or wear and ensure it lasts as long as possible.
Although your dental inlay or onlay will be made of the highest quality materials, certain habits can cause excessive wear to your restoration and will cause it to fail sooner than later. Grinding your teeth is a habit that will cause damage including cracking your teeth or most restorations. We may recommend a custom mouth guard to wear when sleeping to protect your teeth and restorations from damage.
Family Dentist in Clear Lake, TX
Our Clear Lake office serves families throughout the League City, Webster, Seabrook, Friendswood, Kemah and NASA areas. Let us help you decide if a dental inlay or onlay is the right choice for your oral health needs. We use cutting-edge technologies to provide the highest quality dentistry while also providing a comfortable, relaxing dental experience for you and your family. Contact our office today to schedule your consultation or your next preventative care visit. We look forward to seeing you!