The teeth in the posterior region of the mouth must be able to withstand the extreme bite pressures of your jaw. In the past, large silver fillings were used to treat molars and premolars with extensive tooth decay. At Cooley Smiles, we offer porcelain inlays and onlays as an effective way to treat larger cavities in the posterior part of your mouth. With porcelain inlays/onlays you can avoid the hassles of a traditional metal filling.
What Are Porcelain Inlays/Onlays?
Inlays and onlays are dental restorations that are only used by a select number of dental offices. We specialize in Inlays and onlays because they are aesthetically-pleasing alternatives to amalgam fillings. They are also conservative alternatives to full coverage dental crowns.
Inlays and onlays are placed onto the occlusal (bite) surface of the tooth. The restoration is considered an inlay when it only covers the center of the occlusal surface. The restoration is considered an onlay when it extends over one or more cusps of the tooth. Onlays are particularly useful when a tooth has decay that extends to the sides of the tooth.
If your posterior teeth need a restoration, our Cooley Smiles dentists will determine if you are eligible for an inlay or onlay. Ideal candidates typically have too much damage or decay in the tooth to be successfully treated with a traditional filling, but enough healthy structure left to avoid a dental crown. They can also be used to replace an old filling that is corroded or damaged.
Porcelain Inlay/Onlay Procedure
The procedure for an inlay or onlay is usually broken up into two appointments. During your first appointment, we will begin by administering a local anesthetic to eliminate discomfort. Next, we will use a drill to remove any damaged or decayed tooth material. After the unhealthy tooth material is removed, we will clean and prepare the tooth for the restoration. Then, using a small tray and a putty-like material, we will make an impression.
The impression is sent to our dental laboratory, where our technicians will fabricate your porcelain inlay/onlay. We use porcelain because it offers the very best in aesthetics. This process can take several weeks to complete. While your restoration is being fabricated, we may give you a temporary filling to protect your tooth until your next appointment.
At your second appointment, we will remove the temporary and check the margins of your permanent restoration. Once we are certain there is a perfect fit, we will bond the inlay or onlay to the tooth using a strong adhesive. The porcelain will then be polished to create a realistic sheen.
Advantages of Porcelain Inlays/Onlays
There are several advantages to porcelain inlays and onlays. A porcelain restoration can be color-matched to the existing tooth to create a completely natural appearance. They are also stain resistant. Inlays and onlays also add significant support to a damaged tooth. The restoration is very durable and usually lasts for many years.
Along with longevity and appearance, inlays and onlays are ideal for tight spaces. If you have a cavity in-between your teeth, it may be a better option than a composite filling.
Schedule Your Appointment
If you would like to learn more about inlays and onlays, call (425) 249-3509, and schedule your appointment today!