When it comes to treating tooth decay, there are a few different options available. You can either use a direct filling, an indirect filling, or a crown. In this blog post, we will focus on indirect fillings. We will define what an indirect filling is, then explain the difference between an inlay and onlay. We will also provide a step-by-step analysis of how inlays and onlays are placed. Finally, we will discuss cases where one restoration is better than the other.
What are indirect fillings?
An indirect filling is a type of dental restoration that is used to treat tooth decay. They are different from direct composite fillings that are made within the mouth. Instead, indirect fillings are made in a laboratory, and then placed in the mouth. The most common types of indirect fillings are inlays and onlays.
Inlays are made to fit inside the grooves, or chewing surface, of your teeth. Onlays are larger, and they cover the entire surface of your tooth, as well as one or more of the tooth’s cusps. Both inlays and onlays are made from materials such as porcelain, composite resin, or gold. Nowadays, porcelain is commonly used because it is the most aesthetic material.
Inlays and onlays are placed in two steps. First, your dentist will numb the area and clean out the decay from your tooth. Next, they will take an impression of your tooth, and send it to a laboratory. The laboratory will then create your inlay or onlay. Once it is ready, your dentist will place it in your mouth and bond it to your tooth. The entire process usually requires two appointments, unless an in-office milling machine is used.
Inlay vs. Onlay: Which is Best?
Inlays and onlays are both great options for treating tooth decay. However, there are some cases where one option is better than the other. For example, if you have a large amount of decay, but that is not large enough to justify a dental crown, an onlay may be the best option. Onlays can also be used to treat cracked or broken teeth. If you have a small amount of decay, but cannot have a composite filling safely placed, an inlay may be the best option. Inlays are also less expensive than onlays, since they are smaller and take less work to place.
In this blog, we have discussed indirect fillings, specifically inlays and onlays. We have defined what they are, explained the difference between them, and provided a step-by-step guide on how they are placed. We have also discussed cases where one option is better than the other.
If you think you may need an inlay or onlay, schedule an appointment with your dentist. They will be able to examine your tooth and determine which option is best for you.
Dr. Admar holds dual certificates — a Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) in 2010 from India and a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) in 2014 from Canada. He is now a full time practicing dentist in Kamloops where he provides a variety of services, including emergency dentistry. Dr. Admar spends hundreds of hours in continued dental education to stay up to date in cosmetic and implant dentistry and he has achieved several advanced qualifications.