If you have a damaged or broken tooth and want to repair it, you have many options available depending on various factors - the size of the fracture to the state of the remaining adjacent teeth.
If you are in a position where your tooth has decay/ damage and requires a large filling but isn't damaged enough to have a full crown placement, you can opt for an onlay or inlay as the best, most cost-effective, lasting solution. Inlays and onlays are a more conservative method than dental crowns, and they preserve more of the natural tooth's surface. With onlays and inlays, only the tooth's affected or damaged area is removed by the dentist.
What Are Inlays and Onlays?
Porcelain inlays and onlays are natural-looking fillings used to repair the tooth surface to make them stronger while helping prevent future dental issues. They are made out of porcelain, composite, or gold material by specialized dental experts, and these procedures cover most of the tooth surface to protect teeth from further fracture.
Both porcelain inlays and onlays work best for teeth with cavities that need a repair less extensive than a dental crown but need something more supportive than a dental filling. They are also helpful if your teeth have small cracks or fractures that need restoration.
Though porcelain inlays and onlays serve almost the same purpose, there are subtle distinctions between the two. Read on to understand the differences.
Porcelain inlays: Porcelain inlays are placed in the center of a tooth and bonded to it. They are often used for decayed or damaged teeth where the cavities are shallow but wide and near the tooth's outer surfaces.
Porcelain onlays: Onlays are used if you have a previous large filling that has failed and needs replacement or if there is a large cavity that needs to be repaired.
Advantages of choosing inlays and onlays
- Since inlays and onlays are made from dental-grade ceramic, your dentist can easily customize their appearance to match your natural teeth, keeping them under disguise.
- They offer excellent durability and allows them to stay as good as new for a long time.
- Inlays restore the strength of the teeth affected by cavities. This wouldn't be possible when you restore the large cavities using dental fillings as their strength would decline, leading to eventual tooth cracking.
- Inlays and onlays restore the mouth's functionality as they enable biting and chewing function.
- Inlays completely fill the cavity with their sealing properties, thus preventing the entry of microbes thereby preventing reinfection.
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