There are times when fillings cannot reinforce a tooth enough, but a crown is not needed. A Dental Onlay or Inlay is the best solution.
Much like porcelain veneers, dental inlays and onlays are indirect dental treatments that restore and reinforce a damaged tooth that cannot support a filling, but that is not damaged enough to require a crown.
Inlays and onlays are indirect fillings because unlike a standard filling, they require fabrication in a laboratory; therefore, a second office visit is required to cement or bond the inlay or onlay to surface of the tooth. Unlike standard fillings, inlays and onlays do not weaken the tooth structure, but actually strengthen it. After the procedure, the tooth can bear up to 50 – 75 percent more chewing force.
Inlays and onlays can be made of porcelain, gold, or composite resin; it is your choice! Dr. Titensor bonds these pieces to the damaged area of your tooth. An inlay, which is similar to a filling, fits into the inside the cusp tips of the tooth. An onlay is a more substantial reconstruction, similar to the inlay, but is extends out over one or more of the cusps of the tooth.
Traditionally, most patients selected gold as the material of choice for inlays and onlays. In recent years, however, porcelain has become increasingly as popular due to its strength and color, which can potentially match the natural color of your teeth.
Dr.Titensor needs two appointments with you to complete the inlays and onlays procedure. During the first visit, he removes the existing filling or the damaged or decayed area of the tooth; he then prepares the tooth for the inlay or onlay. As with porcelain veneers, Dr. Titensor makes an impression of your tooth to ensure proper fit and bite and then sends the impression to a lab for fabrication of the inlay or onlay. Dr. Titensor applies a temporary sealant on your tooth and has his staff schedule your next appointment.
At the second appointment, Dr. Titensor removes the temporary sealant. He then checks to make that the inlay or onlay fits correctly. If the fit is satisfactory, he bonds the inlay or onlay to the tooth with a strong resin and polishes the inlay or onlay to a smooth finish.
As an alternative to traditional fillings, by selecting inlays or onlays, which bonded directly onto your tooth using special high-strength resins, you actually increase the strength of your tooth by up to 75 percent. As a result, they can last from 10 to 30 years.