Inlays & Onlays

You probably know about dental fillings and crowns as a remedy for cavities and tooth decay. However, you might not be familiar with dental inlays and onlays as alternatives to dental fillings and crowns. Dental fillings come in handy for small cavities, while crowns are ideal if tooth decay is extensive or you have a fracture on your tooth that needs to be concealed. However, a dental filling is not enough in some situations, and a dental crown is too much. In this case, your dentist can recommend dental inlays and onlays to fill the gaps in your teeth. Inlays and onlays are more effective than dental fillings but are less intrusive than crowns. If you need dental inlays or onlays in Beverly Hills, contact Dr Joseph Goodman.

The Difference Between Inlays and Onlays

As their name suggests, inlays fill cavities in the tooth or between cusps. On the other hand, onlays fill these spaces, and the larger area includes the cusps. Dental onlays works in the same way as crowns, but they do not cover the surface of a tooth. Both inlays and onlays are made from the same material and function similarly. The only difference is that they cover different areas of the tooth.

Inlays And Onlays are More Attractive Than Fillings

For a long time, dental fillings were the go-to solution for dental cavities. However, they can be conspicuous and unsightly, depending on where dental fillings are placed. Some people have noticeable silver amalgam fillings at the back of their teeth, and this metallic look is not appealing. The good news is that dental fillings are no longer the only solution for tooth decay. You can use inlays and onlays to fill dental cavities while enjoying a beautiful, natural look. If you need a dental filling alternative that preserves your teeth without compromising your appearance, you should consider dental inlays and onlays.

Dental inlays are made of porcelain. Inlays are custom-made to suit your teeth and resemble your natural teeth. Even if inlays can have a shade that does not entirely resemble your natural teeth, they do not stick out. Your dentist will make a cast of your mouth and send it to a lab to be constructed. Usually, dentists use dental fillings to replace large fillings, decaying teeth, or damaged teeth. When placing an inlay, a dentist will remove a much smaller portion of your tooth than when placing a filling.

Onlays are also custom-made using porcelain. They are similar to inlays but are ideal when the affected area extends beyond one tooth. When an onlay is prepared, constructed, and installed correctly, it is unrecognizable from the other teeth surrounding it.

Why Patients Choose Onlays and Inlays

Inlays and onlays are a great alternative to dental fillings; patients choose them for many reasons. The leading benefits of inlays and onlays include:

They are Durable

Inlays and onlays address many dental issues, including cavities and physical damage. Dentists use permanent cement to install inlays and onlays and create a seal over the affected area. Therefore, inlays and onlays will be in place for a long time, protecting your teeth from additional damage and infection. Since inlays and onlays are scratch-resistant, your smile will always look healthy and bright.

Natural and Whiter Look

Many people constantly look for ways to brighten their smiles and reduce staining and yellowing. Over-the-counter dental strips and mouth rinses do not offer the teeth-whitening results many people crave. If you want to regain your white, healthy, natural-looking smile, inlays and onlays could be just what you need. These dental restorations are effective in treating damaged and decaying teeth. Inlays and onlays are manufactured to fit your teeth, making them look as natural as possible. Porcelain has a natural color and appearance, so your smile will appear how you want it to.

No Need for Dental Fillings

Dental fillings and crowns are ideal for some patients, but they have some drawbacks. With time, dental fillings contract and expand depending on their location in your mouth. This expansion and contraction can make you experience pain, and the fillings could slip out of place and fall off. Therefore, most patients have to replace their dental fillings after several years. Dental inlays and onlays are made of porcelain, gold, or resin. These materials do not expand or contract. Therefore, inlays and onlays will protect your teeth for a long time without worrying about visiting your dentist.

Maintain The Length Of Your Teeth

Most people seek to preserve the natural look of their teeth as much as possible. While inlays and onlays will not restore the lost tissue, they protect the affected area. This means that decay and damage will not spread to other teeth from the affected area. You only need to ensure that you observe good oral hygiene. Inlays and onlays will preserve your natural smile for years since they are durable and do not downgrade over time.

Strengthen Your Teeth

You might be surprised to learn that dental fillings can weaken your teeth. Dental fillings are weaker compared to the original tissue they replace. Since inlays and onlays are made of porcelain, they are stronger than natural tissue. They will make your teeth look attractive and strengthen them to withstand pressure.

Saves You Money

Inlays and onlays are more costly than dental fillings. However, you should consider them an investment because they are more durable. They will strengthen the affected teeth and make your mouth healthier. By choosing inlays/onlays over fillings, you will have lower dental costs in the future.

Whether You Are a Good Candidate For Dental Inlays/Onlays

Inlays and onlays are designed differently from dental fillings and crowns. As a result, they only work for specific oral health issues. A person's eligibility for an inlay is determined by the part of the tooth that is decayed or damaged and the severity of the damage. In most cases, there is little room for compromise.

An inlay or onlay is particularly ideal for premolar or molar teeth. These are the teeth you use to chew, and they have a very rough or textured biting surface. They are different from the front incisor teeth you use for cutting.

The Extent of Tooth Damage

The primary criterion for an inlay or onlay is the degree of tooth damage or decay. These restorations are called three-quarter crowns because of the number of tooth structures to be restored. Unlike dental crowns covering the entire tooth surface, an inlay or onlay requires a healthy percentage of unbroken enamel to hold the restoration.

While inlays and onlays are smaller than dental crowns, they are still significantly larger than dental fillings. Like fillings, they need some healthy enamel to support them. If the extent of tooth damage is between 30 and 50%, you might not qualify for dental fillings because your teeth cannot support them. On the other hand, a dental crown could be excessive. In this situation, your dentist can recommend a dental inlay/onlay.

When an Inlay/Onlay Is Better Than A Dental Filling

A filler is ideal for simple structural needs like a minor cavity. After removing decay, a filling is inserted directly into the tooth. However, when the cavity is extensive and cleaning it out only leaves a little shell of enamel, a dental filling will merely cause the tooth to fracture in half when biting pressure is exerted. In these cases, a dental inlay or onlay is recommended. The three-quarter crown design of a lab-made restoration provides additional structural support to the surviving tooth structure. And because it is produced in a lab, the custom fit will be firmer.

When An Inlay/Onlay is Better Than a Crown

Crowns encompass the entire visible area of a tooth, down to the gum line. They are typically your sole treatment option if you do not qualify for a dental filling. However, when you visit a dentist who also provides inlay and onlay restorations, you have a more conventional and less intrusive choice to consider.

Crown treatments involve reducing the width and height of dental enamel so that the cap can glide over the tooth. This could result in the removal of potentially sound tooth enamel. Depending on the amount of good enamel you still have, a more conventional alternative would be to put an inlay or onlay on the tooth instead of a full crown.

Whether You Are a Candidate For An Inlay

An inlay differs from an onlay in that most restoration is placed inside the tooth, filling in the valleys or grooves on a tooth's chewing surface. Your tooth's cusps or pointed biting edges must still be intact to be a good candidate for an inlay. The purpose of the inlay is to fill in the gap between the cusps and the inside of the tooth caused by decay. You must have enough enamel to surround the inlay and keep it in place.

Whether You Are a Candidate For an Onlay

Unlike inlays, onlays helps repair the cusps on teeth' biting surfaces. They sit on top of and around a tooth, functioning more like a partial crown than a dental filling. The key criterion for an onlay is that there is enough tooth remaining so that the whole structure does not have to be shortened to fit a cap over it.

The Procedure For Dental Inlay/Onlay

Here is the typical procedure for a dental inlay or onlay:

Removing the Old Filling

Inlays and onlays are commonly used to repair decayed or damaged fillings. Your dentist will remove any old fillings before installing the new restoration. Infected tooth tissue is also extracted, leaving a "hole" in the tooth. Your dentist will shape and prep your tooth so the inlay or onlay can be placed more easily.

Taking a Dental Impression

A mold of the damaged or decayed tooth is obtained during the first appointment. You and your dentist can use this mold to choose the type of inlay or onlay material, including ceramic, gold, or composite. If you choose ceramic, you will have the privilege of picking the restoration color during your appointment.

Placing The Temporary Fillers

The next phase of treatment involves implanting the temporary fillers. At this point, your dentist will temporarily fill the cavity to prevent infection. The temporary filling will keep your teeth protected from temperature stimulation, which can lead to decay. It also reduces your sensitivity to hot and cold beverages.

Inlay/Onlay Placement

The next stage is the installation of the inlay or onlay. Once the restoration is complete, your dentist will schedule an appointment for inlay or onlay placement. If necessary, your dentist will administer a local anesthetic to alleviate pain and discomfort during the dental inlay/onlay process. The dentist will remove the temporary filling, leaving the inlay or onlay bonded to your tooth. In most cases, temporary fillings can be removed and inlays/onlays placed without causing the patient any discomfort.

Dental clinics can now use advanced CAD/CAM milling equipment, such as the CEREC, to make composite and porcelain inlays and onlays. The exact procedure is employed to create same-day dental crowns. After steps one and two are complete, you will bypass step three and move on to step four during the same session.

Inlays and onlays only require a few days to heal. However, as teeth age, they remain prone to plaque and oral bacteria accumulation. Dental restorations require good oral hygiene to function properly.

Whether Getting Inlays/Onlays Hurt

Dentists understand that comfort and relaxation are paramount for a patient. Your dentist will take the proper measures to ensure you do not experience pain or discomfort when obtaining inlays/onlays. You will receive local anesthesia, usually injected into the gum. While your dentist injects the anesthesia, you could experience a pinching sensation, which will soon subside. You can request that your dentist numb your gums using topical treatments. Feeling pressure as your dentist works on your teeth is normal, but the process is painless and straightforward.

While you will not experience pain or discomfort as your dentist installs inlays/onlays, you could experience pain and discomfort for several weeks after treatment. This should not be a cause for alarm. In most cases, the discomfort is due to the soreness of having your mouth open for an extended period during treatment and the soreness of the injection. You could also experience persistent discomfort if your dentist places an onlay in a position different from your natural tooth. You should contact your dentist for a quick adjustment if this is the case.

The Durability Of Inlays/Onlays

Your inlays/onlays can last for more than twenty years. However, several factors will determine how long the dental restorations will last. These include the affected part of your mouth and the condition of the surrounding nerves and tissues. Your oral health and how well you care for your inlays/onlays will also determine how long they last. After obtaining inlays/onlays, it is crucial to follow the proper measures to prolong their life.

  • You should follow the proper teeth cleaning procedures by cleaning your teeth at least twice daily. It is best to clean your teeth after every meal to prevent bacteria buildup around your teeth and gums. Plaque application can loosen your inlays/onlays. When brushing your teeth, use fluoride toothpaste because it protects your teeth and strengthens your enamel. It is also crucial to visit your dentist regularly. Regular dental visits facilitate regular professional cleanings to prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar between gums.
  • You should also be careful when choosing what to eat since hard foods can damage your dental restoration. Caramel, taffy, or other hard foods can still or pull on your inlays/onlays, dislodging them. Hard foods like candy and popcorn can also crack your inlays/onlays when you chew too hard. You should avoid other negative habits like chewing your nails or pens. These habits are bad for your teeth and can damage your inlays/onlays.

The leading benefit of inlays/onlays is their longevity. You should expect them to last between five and thirty years. Dental experts cannot guarantee how long your inlays/onlays will last because this will depend on many factors. If not well cared for, your inlays/onlays can undergo wear and tear and fail sooner than expected.

Tooth grinding, also known as bruxism, can damage your inlays/onlays. If you grind your teeth in your sleep, your dentist can provide a mouth guard or other suitable solutions to protect your teeth. Hard or chewy foods can also affect the durability of your inlays/onlays. Chewy foods stick to the inlays/onlays, while hard foods can crack the material. There is no specific figure for how long your inlays/onlays will last. Their durability depends on a patient's overall health and how well a patient takes care of them.

Whether Inlays/Onlays Can Fall Off

Yes, onlays can slip off if you do not follow the recommended after-care procedures. If jarred, inlays/ onlays can lose impact. If this happens, while it is not a medical emergency, you should respond quickly. You will feel pain since the tissue underneath will be exposed.

When an inlay or onlay falls out, apply topical clove oil to relieve any pain or discomfort. If you can retrieve the onlay, you can put it back in the mouth. Just be careful to clean it first. Then, add denture glue or dental cement to the interior of the onlay to keep it in place.

The Cost Of Dental Inlays/Onlays

The cost of your onlay will be determined by several factors. Onlays are more extensive and cover a larger part of the tooth than inlays. Each onlay ranges from $650 to $1200. On average, you will pay around $900. Some factors determining the cost include the materials required, the size of the impacted area, and the amount of work required to place the onlay.

Porcelain inlays/onlays are the most expensive since they closely resemble genuine tooth enamel. Gold is the most conspicuous, but it is also the most cost-effective. Composite resin is less expensive than porcelain. However, it is susceptible to staining and discoloration with time. It is also the least durable.

The costs could rise if the damage is deep or spread over a vast area. The treatment area is smaller for inlays, and the cost will not increase as much as dental onlays. Most patients do not need anesthesia for inlays and onlays. Your dentist will recommend local anesthesia if need be. However, some patients prefer sedation. If you request sedation, the service will come at an additional cost.

You should hire someone competent and knowledgeable about the procedure. The more experienced your dentist is, the higher the treatment cost is likely to be. However, you should never compromise on a dentist's experience. An experienced dentist is worth the cost.

Whether Dental Insurance Covers Inlays/Onlays

Many insurance providers cover inlays and onlays. The reason is that they are not purely cosmetic. They are utilized to maintain tooth strength while preserving tooth structure to the greatest extent possible. Check with your dental insurance provider to determine if you are covered. Inlays and onlays have certain similarities but serve distinct objectives. Many dentists believe they are excellent alternatives to dental fillings, crowns, and other restoration dental procedures.

Find an Experienced Dentist Near Me

If you are looking for a reliable dentist for inlays/onlays in Beverly Hills, contact Dr. Joseph Goodman. During the initial consultation, he will examine the damaged tooth or teeth to determine how much of a strong tooth structure is left and whether an inlay or an onlay is the right option. An inlay is ideal for deeper cavities and fractures that cannot be treated with a filling.

On the other hand, an onlay is more suitable for deep cavities or damage that goes beyond the tooth's cusp or biting surface. Whether you need inlays or onlays, our experienced dentists can help. Contact my team at 310-860-9311.