Anyone who has experienced extreme decay or trauma may well benefit from Inlay or Onlay replacements. They have a twofold advantage in that they naturally help to strengthen the existing tooth and thee radically improve the aesthetics of the face. They are often used in place of a complete dental crown as they are less invasive and give a greater degree of protection when chewing food.
They are created from an impression made of the broken tooth. This is then cemented onto the damaged surface at a follow up appointment. In the interim period a provisional inlay or onlay is fitted to keep the damaged tooth safe and to minimise sensitivity.
The process usually takes two visits. They are put in under local anaesthetic and although there may be some sensitivity it soon passes.
However it is possible to have it completed in a single visit if CEREC ceramic inlays and onlays are used.
They can be constructed from porcelain, gold, zirconium or a composite resin. Those made of Zirconium, resin or porcelain have a more natural tooth colour so are best aesthetically but for strength the first choice would be gold, ideal for the rear teeth followed by Zirconium. This is perfect for patients who grind their teeth and end up with a misaligned bite.
If the damage is extensive the whole of the tooth surface is removed and a full onlay put in to cover the biting surface.
Once the inlay or onlay has been fitted the whole area where it joins the pre existing tooth is polished to maximise comfort. If there are any rough edges or joins this could cause discomfort or cause a problem with cleaning. The lays themselves are incredibly smooth having been made in a lab and polished by machine. Hence they feel really natural to the patient and feedback on customer satisfaction tends to be excellent.
They often outlast regular fillings by far as they are fully bonded to the teeth and are preferential to fillings which may shrink or allow food particles to become trapped in tiny gaps.
This is dependent on the size of the area and the expertise of the lab. Here at Brickfields we pride ourselves on using specialists for this.
If they are made of porcelain this does require a greater degree of specialism and time and as such will inevitably be slightly more costly.
Inlays and onlays do cost more than regular white fillings however, they have a greater longevity. It should be noted that they are an excellent and indeed optimal way to protect a damaged tooth.