Inlays & Onlays

When you develop a cavity, the regular procedure to take care of it would be to have it filled. This requires that your San Diego, CA dentist drill a little into the tooth, clean the area and then place a filling. In some cases, however, there isn’t enough tooth structure for your dentist to do this. When this happens he has the choice to place either an inlay or an onset. These are also known as partial crowns and they are usually made out of porcelain, gold or composite materials (a mixture of several different metals, glass and plastic).

There is a difference between an inlay and an onset. An inlay is used when there is little damage to the cusps of the tooth. It is usually placed at the points of the molar. An onset, on the other hand, is used when the outer part of the tooth has suffered extensive damage – it covers most of the tooth. The point of having both these procedures done is not only to restore the structure of the tooth but also to halt tooth decay – bacteria cannot get into the cavity and do more damage. Your San Diego, CA dentist will assess your teeth and decide which of these two procedures is right for you.

Are there other advantages of having inlays and onsets installed?

As a matter of fact there are:

  • The first is that since the tooth is strengthened using a prosthetic it has a longer lifespan. If you don’t have your tooth crowned with either an inlay or an onset the next best option might be to pull it and replace it with an artificial one. This is more painful, requires more dental work and may also cost you more.
  • As it happens, they are also the best alternative when the damage to the tooth is no so extensive as to warrant the installation of a crown.
  • If you care about the aesthetics of your teeth then you will like inlays and onsets because they are installed in a way such that no metal shows.
  • They are great in terms of cost because they last longer than ordinary fillings.

You may be wondering whether there are disadvantages to getting inlays and onsets. There is only one obvious one – the fact that they cost more than fillings. Other than that, the only other con of both these procedures is that you have to have to dental visits – for many, one dental visit is more than enough.

What does the procedure involve?

The procedure is not very complicated; here is hat you can expect:

  • If you already had a filling in the tooth the dentist will remove it along with any decay that is present. If you don’t already have a filling then the dentist will remove only the decay.
  • The next step is to make a mold of the tooth so that he can send it to dental lab where the inlay or onset is created. He fills the tooth with a temporary inlay or onset as you wait for the permanent ones to be created.
  • You are then sent home for a few days as your inlay or onset is created. Once the dentist receives it he will call you back for your second visit so that he can install it.
  • On your second visit, the dentist will remove the temporary prosthetic and then place the inlay or onset into the tooth. It is bonded there with strong adhesive and then the tooth is polished.
  • Your San Diego, CA dentist may take an X ray to confirm that the inlay or onset is accurately placed.

Do inlays and onsets require any special Care?

Not quite; the thing you should realize is that you haven’t taken very good care of your teeth up to this point and that is why you have a cavity in the first place. It is now time for you to brush 3 times a day and floss without fail. Cut sugar out of your diet – sugary foods and are the main cause of your problem. Avoid things like desserts, candy and soda and you will see a great change in the condition of your teeth. You should make sure that you visit a dentist at least twice a year for him to make sure that your prosthetic is in place. If your teeth need special care your San Diego, CA dentist will explain to you what your options are.