Dental inlays and onlays are restorations used to repair rear teeth that have a mild to moderate amount of decay. They can also be used to restore teeth that are cracked or fractured if the damage is not severe enough to require a dental crown.
Inlays and onlays are usually made from porcelain, composite resin, and sometimes even from gold. Because they can be created from tooth-colored materials, inlays and onlays are often used to replace metal dental fillings for patients who desire a more natural looking smile.
If you get self-conscious about your silver dental fillings, take comfort in the fact that there are other alternatives to natural- looking fillings, such as a dental inlay.
A dental inlay is a type of restoration that typically looks like natural teeth and fixes an existing tooth that is too damaged to support a tooth filling, but not so much that it needs a dental crown. It covers the chewing surface between the cusps, while onlays restore one or more fractured cusps.
Both dental inlays and dental onlays are intended to repair the tooth's chewing surface, and in some cases, repair teeth with other restoration options: the dental filling, which fills a hole in the tooth, and the dental crown, which covers most of the tooth.
When a tooth is too damaged to support a tooth filling but not damaged enough for a dental crown, you end up somewhere in the middle. Capping a damaged tooth unnecessarily with a dental crown removes more tooth structure than needed. But a large dental filling can weaken the remaining structure of the tooth, causing the tooth to break, crack or eventually need a root canal.
When you're faced with the choice between a large tooth filling or a dental crown, do you save money now and risk major dental problems down the line or undergo possibly an unwanted dental treatment ?
There is a dental restoration that can solve your problem: dental onlays. Dental onlays fall somewhere in between dental fillings and dental crowns. Like dental inlays, onlays restore large cavities without having to use a crown.
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