Understanding Inlays & Onlays

understanding inlays and onlays

Dr. M. Shoaib Khan is an expert in providing restorative treatments, which serve as an excellent alternative to traditional fillings and crowns. When it comes to restoring the health and aesthetics of your teeth, understanding all the available options is vital. Patients with dental decay or damage that is too extensive for a simple filling, yet not severe enough to require a full crown, may benefit from what’s known as inlays and onlays. 

Table of Contents: 

Inlays and Onlays are Custom Made

Both inlays and onlays are custom-made and fit into or onto a tooth, respectively. Dr. Khan recommends an inlay if the decay or cavity is within the ridges, or cusps, of a single tooth. These cusps are the peak points on your teeth that you can feel when you touch them with your tongue. On the other hand, an onlay may be indicated when multiple cusps are affected by decay or a cavity needs to be covered. Despite their differences, both restorations are permanently attached to the tooth and crafted to blend seamlessly with the natural contours of your teeth.

The Restoration Process

The restoration process begins with a comprehensive examination by Dr. Khan, who checks the health and stability of the tooth or teeth in question. He will evaluate your overall dental condition to ensure you’re a suitable candidate for an inlay or onlay. After the initial assessment, your teeth are prepared by shaping them to receive the inlay or onlay, and then an impression is made.

Dr. Khan’s team sends your impression to a specialized dental lab where your inlay or onlay is crafted with precision. This process can take a few weeks, so we offer the option to fit you with a temporary inlay or onlay to protect your teeth while your permanent restoration is being fabricated. Once your inlay or onlay is ready, you will return to our office for the final fitting. This is a careful and meticulous procedure to ensure the right fit, form, and function of your new restoration.

The Long-term Benefits of Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and onlays bear numerous advantages over traditional forms of dental restoration. One significant benefit is their longevity. With appropriate care, including regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups, inlays and onlays can last significantly longer than traditional fillings. They are less likely to discolor over time compared to resin fillings and more resistant to wear, offering a durable solution while also protecting against further bacterial infection.

Furthermore, inlays and onlays preserve more of your natural tooth structure than crowns because their design is targeted only to the affected areas. This approach minimizes the amount of drilling required and helps to maintain the integrity of your natural tooth. In addition, they are an excellent choice for patients looking to replace old metal fillings with a solution that is both functional and aesthetic. The materials used to fabricate inlays and onlays are typically tooth-colored, such as porcelain or composite resin, which means they can be matched to the shade of your teeth, providing a discreet and natural-looking result.

Choosing Between Inlays and Onlays

The choice between inlays and onlays will depend on the extent of tooth decay and the strength of the tooth structure that remains. Dr. Khan will be able to diagnose the issue accurately and will communicate the most appropriate option for your dental health. Patients who are ideal candidates are those with large cavities that cannot be filled with traditional materials, or with teeth that have dramatically darkened due to decay. If you also prefer not to have a dental crown, or you wish to replace your existing metal fillings, these restorations might be the perfect solution for you.

Schedule Consultation

Inlays and onlays represent an intermediary yet highly effective option between fillings and crowns for restoring damaged teeth. Dr. M. Shoaib Khan and his team are dedicated to providing customized, state-of-the-art treatments to restore the function and appearance of your smile. If you believe you could benefit from an inlay or onlay, or simply wish to learn more, do not hesitate to reach out and schedule a consultation. Choosing the right dental treatment can help ensure a healthy, beautiful smile, and knowing your options is the first step. Contact Dr Khan to get started.

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