Discover the Beauty of Dental Inlays and Onlays
In the heart of Carson, CA, where smiles are transformed into works of art, Dr. Maria Cecilia Aluning leads the way at Carson Dental Care. With a commitment to excellence and a passion for oral health, Dr. Aluning offers a range of innovative dental solutions to her patients. One such transformative treatment is dental inlays and onlays, often referred to as indirect fillings and partial crowns. In this comprehensive guide, our Carson dentist explains inlays and onlays and how they can benefit your smile.
What Are Dental Inlays and Onlays?
Dental inlays and onlays are custom-made restorations used to repair damaged or decayed teeth. They’re often referred to as indirect fillings and partial crowns because they serve as a middle ground between traditional dental fillings and full dental crowns.
Inlays and onlays are similar to fillings and crowns, except they cover a portion of the tooth’s surface. They help when damage or decay is too extensive for a filling but doesn’t necessitate a full crown. Inlays and onlays are ideal for repairing damage or decay that affects the biting surfaces (cusps) and the proximal (side) surfaces of a tooth. Unlike fillings that are directly placed into a cavity during a dental visit, inlays and onlays are crafted in a dental laboratory and then bonded to the tooth.
Inlays and onlays are commonly used to treat:
- Large cavities that are too extensive for regular fillings
- Fractured or broken teeth
- Teeth with old or damaged fillings
- Mild to moderate tooth decay
- Cosmetic improvements to enhance the appearance of teeth
Benefits of Dental Inlays and Onlays
Inlays and onlays offer numerous benefits to patients looking to repair their smile, including:
- Conservation of Tooth Structure: Inlays and onlays preserve a significant portion of the natural tooth, promoting long-term dental health.
- Durability: They’re crafted from durable materials that can withstand normal biting and chewing forces, ensuring longevity.
- Aesthetics: Inlays and onlays are customized to match the color and shape of your natural teeth, resulting in a seamless, aesthetically pleasing restoration.
- Minimized Tooth Sensitivity: Unlike traditional silver fillings, inlays and onlays often reduce tooth sensitivity, making them an excellent choice for patients with sensitive teeth.
The Dental Inlays and Onlays Process
During your initial consultation at Carson Dental Care, Dr. Aluning will assess your oral health and determine whether inlays or onlays are suitable for your condition. She’ll discuss the treatment plan, materials, and expected outcomes with you. Your consultation is a great time to ask any questions or voice any concerns you may have.
If inlays or onlays are recommended, we’ll take impressions and digital scans of your teeth. These precise measurements will be sent to a dental laboratory where your custom restorations will be fabricated to match the unique contours of your teeth.
To prepare the tooth for an inlay or onlay, a small amount of the damaged or decayed tooth structure is removed. This creates space for the restoration. Unlike crowns, where more tooth structure is removed, inlays and onlays require minimal alteration.
Temporary Restoration (If Necessary)
While waiting for the custom inlay or onlay to be created, you may receive a temporary restoration to protect the tooth. This temporary restoration can serve as a “test run” and can help you decide on any changes you may want to make to your final restoration.
Once your custom inlay or onlay is ready, typically within a couple of weeks, you’ll return to Carson Dental Care for its placement. Dr. Aluning will ensure a precise fit, bond the restoration to your tooth, and make any necessary adjustments for comfort and aesthetics.
Aftercare for Dental Inlays and Onlays
Proper aftercare is essential to ensure the longevity and effectiveness of your inlays and onlays. Here’s how to maintain your beautiful smile:
- Oral Hygiene: Continue with your regular oral hygiene routine, including brushing and flossing daily.
- Avoid Hard Foods: Be cautious with very hard or sticky foods that could potentially damage your restoration.
- Regular Checkups: Schedule and attend regular dental checkups to monitor the condition of your inlays and onlays.
- Teeth Grinding: If you grind your teeth at night, consider wearing a nightguard to protect your restorations.
- Dietary Choices: Limit the consumption of staining foods and beverages to prevent discoloration.