Applying Inlays and Onlays to Strengthen the Teeth
There are many treatment options available to patients who have suffered from tooth decay or structural damage. At Bell Dental, our cosmetic dentists aim to restore strength, function, and beauty to the teeth while preserving as much natural tooth enamel as possible. In many cases, this results in the treatment of tooth decay with inlays or onlays. For our patients in Lake Jackson, inlays and onlays are able to restore damage that is too severe to be adequately treated with a conventional dental filling. At the same time, inlays and onlays preserve healthy tooth enamel so that a dental crown is not needed.
The Treatment Process
Inlays and onlays are a dental term that is unfamiliar to many of our patients, so it is common for them to have questions about the treatment process. The inlays and onlays treatment procedure is actually very similar to that of a dental crown and can be broken down into three basic steps: preparation, fabrication, and application.
- Preparation: The first step of inlays and onlays treatment is preparation. We cannot properly treat a tooth without first cleaning it and eliminating unhealthy tooth enamel. This is what is done during the preparation of the tooth. Plaque, bacteria, and unhealthy or damaged tooth enamel are all cleaned and removed from the tooth so that only healthy tooth enamel remains.
- Fabrication: Once the tooth is prepared, the inlay or onlay will be fabricated based on molds and measurements of the tooth. In most cases, we are able to use our in-office CEREC machine to create a ceramic fabrication, allowing our patients to benefit from a single day treatment. The CEREC machine takes images of the tooth and compares it to computer images of what the tooth should look like in order to make plans for the inlay or onlay. These plans are sent to our in-office milling machine, which will create the inlay or onlay, which is custom-matched to the patient’s tooth color.
- Application: With the inlay or onlay complete, the patient is ready for application. We will place the inlay or onlay to test for proper fit and make any necessary adjustments. When the fit is correct, the restoration will be adhered to the tooth with a dental bonding material. This securely adheres the inlay or onlay to the tooth so that it is ready to function as the patient’s natural tooth.
An inlay or onlay is an ideal solution when a patient has damage that is too extensive to be treated with a filling but not significant enough to require a crown. However, there are cases in which damage or decay cannot be effectively treated with an inlay or onlay. In these situations, a dental crown can repair and protect a damaged tooth by replacing lost tooth enamel and enclosing the natural tooth to block out harmful bacteria.
Schedule an Appointment
Do not let an injury or tooth decay affect your oral health. At Bell Dental, we offer a range of restorative dental treatments that can restore strength and function to the teeth while enhancing the aesthetics of your smile. To learn more about these restorative treatments and find out which one is right for you, schedule an appointment with one of our experienced cosmetic dentists at your earliest convenience. We look forward to hearing from you!