Inlays and Onlays
If you have decayed or damaged teeth, it can really suck the confidence right out of you. Not only that, they can cause pain and make eating more difficult. Thankfully, dentists have a way to help fix decayed and/or damaged teeth. It’s called inlays and Onlays. Inlays and Onlays are a type of dental procedure that can help give your teeth the boost it needs to restore it back to its original strength and look.
One way to fix a decaying or broken tooth is usually to get a crown, but crowns can involve shaving down or even the removal of some of the healthy bone. This can further damage your teeth and increase other risks, like the need for a root canal. Getting in an inlay or onlay can be considered a more conservative way of fixing a few damaged teeth. It’s minimally invasive and most dentists will recommend this option before going the route of adding a crown.
Another way to call an inlay and onlay is an indirect filling. They are molded onto your tooth as you would expect during a regular dental filling, but rather inlays and Onlays are made in a lab and later bonded to your tooth by your dentist, restoring your tooth back to its original shape and strength.
What are Inlays and Onlays and What’s the Difference Between the Two?
Inlays and Onlays are essentially a new tooth replacement that was created in a lab and is then bonded to whatever decayed or damaged teeth that you have. Whichever one is chosen really depends on the remaining two structures that you have. You might have lost a bit of your tooth to decay or you might have a lot of your tooth left. Your dentist will help you determine whether you need an onlay or an inlay.
Inlays will be designed to fit within the grooves of your teeth. Onlays are bigger and wrap over the cost of your teeth and cover a larger space than an inlay would. And onlay would be recommended if there’s a lot more damage to the tooth, requiring more restoration. If you only have damage to a little bit of your tooth cusp, then the inlay might be recommended.
Whichever procedure that you need, you’ll pretty much have to come in for two dental visits. The first visit us checking out your teeth and seeing which parts need to be replaced and or removed. Remember, only a little bit of the tooth might have to be shaved away to help fit the new inlay or onlay. There will be some local anesthetic used so that you don’t feel any pain at the little bit of the tooth is removed.
Once the decayed part is shaved away, your dentist will then take a mold of the remaining portion of your tooth and send that mold to the lab where they will create the customized inlay or onlay that fits your needs. Your dentist might provide you with a temporary replacement until your customized inlay or onlay comes back from the lab.
Other Materials and Costs
Most inlays and Onlays are created using different types of resin materials. You can also get it done in gold, which is a much stronger material but doesn’t look as natural. Inlays and Onlays are a permanent restoration of your tooth, so you’ll want to be sure you speak with your dentist about all the options available to you. Cleaning of the teeth and shaving away the soft parts might be required.
Your dentist will then make sure the lab got the sizes correct by placing the inlay or onlay on the prepared tooth. Once it’s determined that the fit is great, an adhesive is added so the resin attaches properly and has a secure fit. Typically, dentists use a cement bonding adhesive that will give the inlay or onlay a permanent hold. It will then be polished to make it look shiny and new.
Because inlays and Onlays are considered a restoration of a bad tooth, most dental insurance plans will cover them. Some plans may only cover part of the costs, so you’ll want to check with your dentist beforehand. On average, an inlay costs around $700-$800, which an onlay (a bigger project) costs between $800-$920. Again, these are just national averages, so be sure and check with your dentist for a final price.
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