Dental Inlays and Onlays
When plaque and bacteria are left to build up on the surface of your teeth, they produce harmful acids that eat away at your enamel, leading to the formation of cavities. Cavities are a common issue that affects the teeth of millions of Americans in all age groups. Cavities are frequently treated with fillings. While this treatment is often effective, there are certain cavities where placing a filling can compromise the affected tooth. At Neu Family Dental, we can treat these more difficult cavities with inlays and onlays.
How Are Cavities Typically Treated?
Traditionally, cavities have been treated with one of two types of fillings, amalgam and composite resin. Amalgam fillings have been in use for over 150 years, and are known for their strength. They can stand up to the strongest biting and chewing forces, making them ideal for back teeth. They are made up of a mixture of metals that are suspended in mercury. While strong, these fillings often cause concern for many patients. Along with containing mercury, they are also silver in color.
Composite resin fillings were developed as an alternative to amalgam fillings. They are made up of plastic, fine glass and other materials. These fillings are tooth-colored, blending in with your natural tooth structure and contain no metal or mercury. However, they are not as strong as amalgam and can break under too much stress.
What Are Inlays and Onlays?
While amalgam and composite resin fillings are effective treatments for most cavities, there are some cavities in which they can potentially harm the affected tooth. Cavities that have developed on the chewing surfaces of your molars are one such situation. With an amalgam filling, constant use can drive the filling deeper into the tooth causing it to split. A composite resin filling on the chewing surface of the molar can quickly wear down and break, which can lead to a new infection.
Inlays and onlays are an alternative to a traditional filling. An inlay is designed to fill a cavity that affects only one cusp of the tooth. An onlay is used when two or more cusps have been affected and is sometimes called a partial crown. They can be made from several materials, but porcelain is the most popular. It can be made to perfectly match the color of your natural teeth and mimics the way enamel reflects light. Porcelain is also fairly strong and can stand up to normal daily wear. Both inlays and onlays are designed to strengthen the tooth, rather than weaken it.
Why Get Inlays or Onlays?
There are several benefits to inlays and onlays:
How Are Inlays and Onlays Placed?
If you have a cavity on the chewing surface of your molar, an inlay or an onlay may be the solution for you. Call Neu Family Dental today to schedule your consultation at (847) 230-9143.
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