When a Dental Inlay is Your Best Option

So, your dentist just explained that you need a dental inlay. What is that? Inlays and onlays are a very similar type of filling, so both will be discussed here. First, though, it is important to understand that an inlay or onlay can only be used on your molars, the grinding teeth in the back of your mouth. This is because the "cusps" are a piece of anatomy that plays a role in designing these types of fillings.

Inlays

To understand how an inlay filling works, you have to understand what the "cusp" of a tooth is. Think of the bumps that are around the outer edges of each tooth; these are the cusps. Tooth decay (or a "cavity") in this case has formed in the bottom of one of your molars, and bacteria have grown into this portion of the tooth. An inlay is a type of filling that fits entirely within the cusps of the tooth and down into the cavity left by tooth decay.

Onlays

An onlay differs from an inlay because it is more extensive. Onlays lie within the cavity created by tooth decay, but also over one or more cusps. They are also sometimes called "partial crowns."

Pros and cons of dental inlays

Pros

  • Often made with durable material like gold, composite resin or porcelain
  • Can last 20+ years
  • Can fill in large cavities and avoid the use of a crown
  • Weaken the tooth structure, but do so much less than traditional fillings

Pros

  • Requires at least two visits
  • Requires a temporary filling
  • Costly

So when should I get a dental inlay?

Based on the above information, it is clear that an inlay should never be a first-line treatment. They are often reserved for tooth decay that is too severe for a traditional filling but is not bad enough to need a crown. However, if you have a molar that fits into this category, an inlay might be your best option.

Overall, your best bet is to take great care of your teeth every day. Most dentists will recommend the following for good oral health:

  • Brush at least twice daily with fluoride toothpaste
  • Floss every time you brush. For those with trouble flossing, there are floss picks that make the job much easier
  • Eat a balanced diet low in sugar
  • Visit the dentist every six months for a cleaning and more often for issues like tooth pain

What are my next steps?

If your dentist has recommended an inlay, is it probably because you are at the stage where it will be your best treatment option. However, it is always a good idea to explore what else might be available that your dentist can recommend.

Keep in mind that you are the most important member of your dental care team. If you regularly take care of your teeth with proper technique, you have already taken huge steps to avoid more serious and costly treatments like inlays and onlays.

Request an appointment here: https://activedentalonline.com or call Active Dental at (972) 534-6024 for an appointment in our Irving office.

Recent Posts

How Long Will My Dental Onlay Last?

A dental onlay is a bespoke filling designed from composite material, tooth-colored porcelain or gold. Often called a partial crown, an onlay is prepared in a professional dental laboratory and is fused permanently into place by the dentist.Onlays are typically used to restore teeth with significantly damaged fillings or that have been compromised by cavities…

What Should I Expect During A Dental Restoration Procedure?

Undergoing a dental restoration procedure — also referred to as a dental filling — is a great way to restore the look, feel and function to a damaged tooth.There are several reasons a tooth may become damaged and in need of a dental restoration procedure, including enamel erosion. If you suffer from a damaged tooth,…

3 Reasons To Get A Smile Makeover

Most of the times, we can not control the way we look, but there are many things that we can do to change things to our liking. Take your smile for example. You may think you have to live with gaps in your teeth just because that's how they are. Or maybe you think that…

Dental Options From Active Dental To Fix Your Smile

If you do not love your smile, do not fret. All sorts of dental treatment options are available to enhance the look of your smile, from teeth whitening to contouring, reshaping, Teeth become stained and discolored after consuming certain foods and drinks. Even the aging process can thin the enamel along the teeth and cause…


Recent Posts

How Laser Dental Procedures Can Help With Dental Anxiety

How Laser Dental Procedures Can Help With Dental Anxiety

One of the biggest reasons people fear the dentist is the anxiety over the dental drill. It’s large, booming and obnoxious. Believe it or not, there is an easier alternative. Laser dental procedures help eliminate dental anxiety today. By replacing the drill with a quiet laser, making dentist appointments with fear are now a thing…

Can Tooth Decay Be Reversed?

Can Tooth Decay Be Reversed?

Your teeth are under constant attack from acid and bacteria. This sometimes results in tooth decay.To reverse it, you must fight back against these harmful elements. Keep reading to see how to get your old smile back.  Your mouth has harmful bacteria that feed on the sugars and starch from leftover food. When they feed,…