Tooth decay is progressive and left untreated, can create large areas of decay or damage to the tooth. Decay is also common in the tooth crown of larger teeth where there are deep valleys and crevices that can be hard to clean. For hard to reach areas of the tooth or large surface areas, a customized inlay or onlay may be used to repair the structure of a tooth with a dental cavity.
Inlay and onlays, sometimes called partial crowns, are more conservative and cost-effective than a dental crown but offer added structural support over a traditional dental filling. We treat patients on an individual basis helping them make informed decisions that will improve their oral health long term. Sudbury Dental Arts provides inlay and onlays for the conservative treatment of advanced tooth decay for patients and their families in Sudbury, Concord, Acton, and surrounding communities.
What Is An Inlay?
An inlay is designed to fit into the cusp of the tooth. Your dentist will clean the tooth of decayed tissue and prepare the tooth for the inlay. The inlay can be color matched to the tooth for a cosmetic result. The inlay forms to the crevices of the tooth crown and is bonded into place sealing out future decay. An inlay is also referred to as a partial crown.
What Is An Onlay?
An onlay is most commonly used to treat large surface areas of decay. Tooth decay that occurs on the surface of the tooth can be treated using a dental filling when caught early. As decay spreads, it weakens the structure of the tooth. An onlay will help support the tooth for long-term results. The onlay is custom-designed to blend with your natural smile.
What To Expect
The process to have your inlay or onlay placed will require two visits to our Sudbury, MA dentist office. At your first appointment, Dr. Gauthier will numb the area around the tooth being treated with a local anesthetic. The tooth will be prepared by removing any old fillings as well as all the decay and damaged portion of the tooth. The surface of the tooth will then be thoroughly cleaned.
Next, several impressions of your teeth will be taken with a tray filled with dental putty. These impressions are used to create molds that are used to design and fabricate your new dental inlay or onlay. A temporary restoration will be placed on the tooth to protect it while your dental restoration is being fabricated.
At your next appointment, Dr. Gauthier will gently remove the temporary restoration and place the inlay or onlay to ensure proper fit. It should fit perfectly in the created crevice. He will then permanently bond it to the tooth with a strong dental adhesive.
Routine Dentistry For Oral Health
Treating tooth decay as soon as possible can prevent the need for more complex dental procedures. We encourage our patients of all ages to visit the dentist at least twice a year for routine dental exams. Dental checkups can help catch decay in the earliest stages allowing for conservative treatment.
If you experience tooth pain or extreme tooth sensitivity, be sure to request a consultation as soon as possible. Your dentist can help you address your dental concerns so you may enjoy a comfortable, beautiful smile. Contact our Sudbury family dentist office at (978) 218-2580 or request an appointment online today.
Inlays & Onlays FAQs
Do I need an inlay or a dental filling?
Your dentist at Sudbury Dental Arts will examine your tooth to determine the extent of the decay. If the decay is tooth large for a simple dental filling, he will suggest placing an inlay. The decayed portion of your tooth will be removed and the empty space is filled with an inlay or a composite resin filling. If you require an inlay, the process will require an additional visit to our office since an inlay is fabricated in a dental laboratory from teeth impressions. A filling can be completed in a single office visit.
Do I need an onlay or a dental crown?
Your Sudbury Dental Arts dentist will need to determine the severity of your tooth decay before deciding whether you need an onlay or dental crown. A dental crown is used when a large portion of your tooth is damaged while an onlay is used when the damage is limited to the cusp portion of the tooth. Both are single piece restorations that will require impressions and will be fabricated in dental laboratory. We will place a temporary restoration to protect the tooth while waiting for the permanent restoration to be made.
How do I take care of my inlay or onlay?
An inlay or an onlay require the same type of care as your natural teeth. It is important to understand they will not protect your teeth from further decay so you must continue to properly care for your teeth and restorations. If you brush your teeth multiple times a day, floss daily and visit your dentist every six months, your new restoration should last you a long time.