Historically, tooth repair was intended for the purpose of restoring function to a badly damaged tooth. As dentistry has evolved, restorative care has taken on a dual-purpose. When repairing damaged teeth, Dr. Lee considers how to rebuild optimal structural integrity while also recreating the most lifelike appearance. One way in which we do that is with tooth-colored fillings.
Tooth-colored fillings are made of durable composite resin material. This procedure creates lasting results, but may not be ideal for larger areas of decay or for the replacement of old amalgams. In such instances, the best results may come from a porcelain inlay or onlay.
What are Inlays and Onlays?
Inlays and onlays are restorations that could be categorized as partial crowns. They can be larger than an average composite filling, but do not cover a tooth as fully as a crown. An inlay restores damage that is focused within the four cusps of a tooth. Onlays are used when damage has extended over one or more of the cusps, or points. These restorations differ from standard fillings in size, and also in the fabrication. Inlays and onlays are indirect fillings, made in a dental lab rather than placed directly in the area of decay.
Advantages of Inlays and Onlays
We are proud to use proven techniques to address our patients’ needs for lasting restoration of damaged teeth. Porcelain inlays and onlays are just one method of several that helps us maintain our high standard of care.
One of the advantages to inlay or onlay restoration is the conservative nature with which teeth are treated. Because these restorations are bonded, or strongly adhered to teeth, there is no need for excessive reduction, as there is with amalgam fillings. Using porcelain, we are able to achieve the desired outcome without including metallic ingredients or mercury.
In addition to closely resembling enamel, porcelain dental restorations are also very durable, lasting for many years. Our teeth are put through a great deal of stress and must have the ability to withstand hundreds of pounds of force dispersed when chewing food. The bonded inlay or onlay is capable of absorbing this force, and can actually fortify a weakened tooth.
One of the major influential factors in the longevity of porcelain inlays and onlays is the manner in which porcelain and enamel respond to temperature variance. Because each material moves at a similar rate when heated or cooled, there is minimal risk of fracture.
At Galleria Dental Aesthetics, we consider every aspect of the care we give to you and your family. Call 703.448.1020.