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Inlays and Onlays Vs. Crowns
Your teeth are the strongest substance in your body. Even so, they can still be faced with issues such as physical damage or decay that can compromise their integrity and their health. Your teeth are at risk of further damage and serious, painful infections. Typically, decay is treated with a filling. However, there are some situations in which fillings may not be the ideal solution. Excellent Dental Specialists can treat more difficult areas of decay with inlays and onlays or with a crown.
Inlays and onlays are an alternative treatment to regular dental fillings. They are a type of filling that is known as an indirect filling. This means that they are created in a lab outside of your tooth rather than cured inside of the tooth like an amalgam or composite resin filling. Both inlays and onlays are designed to treat cavities in the chewing surfaces of your molars, where dental fillings might otherwise compromise the affected tooth.
While inlays and onlays are both types of indirect fillings, they are each used in different situations. Inlays are used to treat cavities that are in the crevices of the chewing surfaces of your molars. Onlays, also called partial crowns, are used when the cusps are affected as well. Both inlays and onlays can be made from different materials, with porcelain being the most popular.
Crowns are caps that are made to encase the entire visible surface of damaged or decayed teeth. By encasing the surface of a tooth, crown functions to protect the tooth from further harm, prevent infections and restore strength to the tooth. Crowns are designed to match the size and shape of the teeth they are protecting. They can be made from many different materials, including metal, porcelain fused to metal, and ceramic. Metal crowns provide the greatest strength but are silver or gold in color. Ceramic crowns, while not as strong as metal, provide the greatest aesthetic results.
Placing Inlays and Onlays Vs. Crown Placement
Placing inlays and onlays requires two separate appointments. At your first appointment, a local anesthetic is administered. The tooth is cleaned, and the decay is drilled away. We then take an impression of your tooth and place a temporary filling. Our dental lab uses your impression to design and fabricate your custom inlay or onlay. At your second appointment, we check your filling for fit and bite and bond it into the cavity.
Placing a crown also requires two separate appointments. At the first appointment, we administer a local anesthetic. The tooth is cleaned, and decay is removed. Next, we remove a portion of the enamel of the tooth, which makes it smaller. This ensures there is enough space for the crown to fit in naturally with the rest of your teeth. We then take an impression and place a temporary restoration. The impression is sent to our lab, where technicians design and create your custom crown. At your second appointment, it is checked for fit and bite before being secured into place over the tooth.
What is the Best Solution for Me?
When your teeth have been affected by physical damage or decay, we can help to provide you with the treatment you need to restore your oral health. During your appointment, we will perform a thorough oral exam and take digital X-rays of your mouth. This exam will allow us to determine the extent of the damage so that we can provide you with the best treatment possible.
If you have areas of decay that cannot be treated with a filling, we can provide alternatives. For more information on inlays, onlays, and crowns, and to find out which option is right for you, call Excellent Dental Specialists at (210) 598-8933 today.