Cavities are one of the most common dental issues affecting the oral health of individuals of all ages. In most cases, cavities can be treated with fillings. However, there are some situations in which fillings are not ideal and can compromise the affected tooth further. If you have a cavity on the chewing surface of your molar, The Dentists at North Cypress can provide treatment with an inlay or onlay.
In many cases, cavities can be treated with amalgam or composite fillings. This treatment uses a special material to fill in the cavity, effectively stopping decay in its tracks and restoring your oral health. Amalgam fillings are made up of a mixture of metals that are suspended in mercury. These fillings are incredibly strong. Composite fillings are made up of a mixture of plastic, fine glass, and other materials. They are a tooth-colored, metal-free, and mercury-free alternative to amalgam. Both types of fillings are cured, or hardened, inside of the cavity.
While amalgam and composite fillings can be effective in many situations, cavities in the chewing surfaces of your molars present unique complications. An amalgam filling in this area can be driven deeper into the tooth. This can cause the tooth to split. A composite filling can wear down faster or shatter under the pressures at the back of the mouth.
Inlays and onlays are indirect fillings that provide an alternative to amalgam and composite fillings. They are designed to treat cavities in the chewing surfaces of your molars. Inlays are used to treat cavities in the crevice of the tooth. Onlays, also called partial crowns, treat cavities that affect the cusps. Indirect fillings are those that are created in a lab and then placed into the cavity, rather than cured inside of the tooth.
Placing inlays and onlays typically requires two separate appointments. At the first appointment, we clean the tooth and remove the decay from the cavity. This process is done under a local anesthetic. Next, an impression is taken. This impression is sent to our dental lab, where it is designed and created. A temporary filling is placed in the meantime. At your second appointment, the inlay or onlay is checked for fit and a natural bite. If no adjustments are needed, the filling is bonded into place.
Inlays and onlays have several significant benefits. These benefits include:
• Restoring strength to the tooth. Unlike traditional amalgam and composite fillings, inlays and onlays are designed to strengthen the tooth rather than compromise it further.
• Preserving more of your natural tooth structure. When preparing the cavity for your inlay or onlay, less of your tooth needs to be drilled away than with amalgam or composite fillings.
• Affordability. Inlays and onlays are a more affordable treatment than crowns. These treatments are also much less invasive.
With inlays and onlays, we can treat more difficult cavities, restoring the health of your mouth and preventing serious issues from developing. For more information, and to find out if inlays and onlays are right for you, call The Dentists at North Cypress today.