Dental Inlays & Onlays in Vienna
Inlays and onlays are the treatment option between dental crowns and dental fillings and are often used if there is a small amount of damage to just a portion of your tooth. These treatments are similar to crowns. In fact, a dental crown is basically a large onlay. The main differences are crowns are more expensive, require more reduction of the natural tooth structure and have a larger scope of coverage. Dr. Ellenbogen usually recommends inlays or onlays when only mild to moderate tooth decay or damage is evident. If you think your cavity might need more than just a filling, but doesn’t necessarily require a full crown, contact Dr. Ellenbogen in Vienna at (703) 734-1095 to schedule an exam today.
Basically, the dentist places an inlay between the cusps and in the groves of the tooth, and an onlay on one or more cusps, or points, of a tooth. An inlay often replaces the need for dental fillings when dental problems require protection beyond what simple bonding can provide. An onlay is used when the decay is more extensive but enough tooth structure remains to not require the use of a full crown.
Materials Used for Inlays and Onlays
Dentists use two common materials for inlays and onlays: porcelain and gold. Obviously porcelain is pleasing and ideal for teeth that can be seen in the smile.
The Benefits of Inlays and Onlays
When applied properly, inlays and onlays provide several benefits. Consider this!
- They preserve more natural tooth material. Crowns cover the entire top of the tooth and most of the enamel must be cut down to make room for the restoration. Dr. Ellenbogen prefers to save as much of this structure as possible. So if damage from tooth decay is minimal and only extends to the surface or enamel of the tooth, the dentist can just remove enough enamel to place inlays and onlays.
- They are custom fit to your smile. Dental inlays and onlays are prefabricated in a dental laboratory based on a molded impression of the tooth and surrounding area. This means they are custom-made for every patient providing an improved, closer fit on the tooth surface.
- They look and function like natural teeth. Once they are properly shaped, inlays and onlays feel and fit just like any other tooth in your mouth. You can bite, chew, and talk as normal.
- They are a long-term solution. If properly maintained, these restorations can last an upwards of 20 years or beyond. They are durable and have little chance of breakage.
- They prevent additional decay from affecting the rest of the tooth. These restorations stop decay from becoming something more serious, like an abscess or full on tooth loss.
What is the Procedure Like?
The procedure of inlay or onlay placement requires two separate visits. First, Dr. Ellenbogen will inspect your damaged tooth and perform the necessary cleaning for the inlay or onlay. Then he will shave down some of the enamel to ensure the perfect fit. Second, our dental team will take a molded impression of your tooth and send the mold to the laboratory. After cleaning the tooth, the dentist fills the hole with a temporary material that will protect the newly cleaned surface while the inlay or onlay is fabricated.
On your next visit, the dentist removes the temporary material, and the permanent inlay or onlay will be cemented onto your tooth. Finally, Dr. Ellenbogen will observe how the inlay or onlay fits on your tooth and against the opposite biting surface. He will make any adjustments so the restoration sits well against the surrounding teeth before giving it a final polish. Depending on your situation Dr. Ellenbogen might request a third visit for observation, further adjustments and any follow-up.
Schedule Your Appointment
To discuss the possibility of an inlay or onlay, call Dr Ellenbogen in Vienna, VA today at (703) 734-1095. He will address any questions or hesitations you might have and recommend you come in for a consultation to see if you are a viable candidate for this minimally invasive treatment.