A tooth that is damaged will need to be repaired and then protected. Our dentist recommends inlays and onlays to protect teeth that are prone to cavities and small cracks. While inlays and onlays are both designed to perform the same function, they go about it in different ways.
Inlays are made of a dental grade resin or porcelain and are designed to fit in the cusps of a patient’s tooth to protect its small crevices from creating a place for bacteria to hide. Our dentists use inlays to treat cavities which are located in the molars.
Human molars have many small crevices that, in the past, allowed them to grind tough foods like raw meat and hard grains easier. Today, these crevices are not necessary and instead of helping, they often cause problems because they create areas that are hard to clean. By sealing these areas off, our dentist can protect the molars from the decay that they are often prone to.
Onlays are described by our dentists as being very similar to inlays except that instead of only fitting in the cusp of the tooth, they can cover the entire crown to seal off a much larger area. They are custom fit to the tooth so that they fit exactly. After they are placed, they are filed down even further by our dentists to create the tightest, most secure protection possible.
Inlays and onlays are often recommended to those who have been prone in the past to cavities because of the tiny cracks in their teeth. They can also be used, however, for preventive purposes before cavities are ever formed. Our dentist can often see that the crevices in a person’s molars are extra deep, or that their brushing is not cleaning out all the bacteria, and therefore recommend inlays and onlays before the expected cavity arrives.
If you have been prone to cavities even though you practice good oral hygiene, and you would like to protect your teeth from further damage, give us a call today to schedule a consultation where our dentist can determine in inlays and onlays are right for you.