Inlays and Onlays
Two of the most common ways to restore damaged or decayed teeth are through fillings and crowns. Fillings are used to plug holes in teeth caused by decay. Crowns are used to cover the enamel of a tooth to prevent chips and cracks developing into a broken tooth.
Sometimes it’s not possible to use fillings or crowns for certain restorations. Fillings are ineffective if there’s too much decay. Crowns aren’t necessary if the damage isn’t so severe that part of the natural crown can’t be well maintained.
For cases where damage is too great for fillings but not quite enough for crowns, we may use inlays and onlays to address your issues.
Both inlays and onlays restore your teeth to their normal function. They’re made out of the same materials and provide equal benefits. The primary difference between them is where the restoration is fitted to the tooth.
Replace the biting surface of your tooth. The pointed parts of your molars and pre-molars — the teeth at the back of the mouth — are called “cusps”. These are what do most of the work when you chew, and this is where an onlay is used.
Restore the area between the cusps of your teeth. This might include one of the cusps itself to properly fit the restoration.
Benefits of Inlays and Onlays
Inlays and onlays restore the healthy function of your teeth. You’ll be able to safely, confidently, and painlessly use teeth to chew and eat that were previously too sensitive or painful to use.
When teeth are too damaged or too painful to use, we tend to put more stress on other teeth in our mouth. This can ultimately result in more teeth becoming damaged due to excess strain. This, in turn, leads to more teeth needing to be fixed. By addressing the problem early, multiple teeth can be saved.
Additionally, you’ll help prolong the life of the tooth. Using inlays and onlays as interventions can delay — or put off entirely in some cases — the need to use a full dental crown or extract the tooth. By protecting the tooth from further harm you greatly reduce the risk of a major crack or breakage occurring in the future.
Inlay and Only Process
The process is basically the same for both restorations and will take at least two appointments.
On the first appointment, the teeth are examined and prepared. This will involve a cleaning which will remove as much decay and damage as possible.
Next, impressions are taken of the tooth to be fixed to send to the lab. This impression is what the lab technicians will use to model the inlay or onlay. Porcelain is the most popular material, as it’s durable and closely resembles tooth enamel. Dental composite resin and gold can also be used.
Your dentist will place a temporary cover on the newly cleaned tooth to protect it until the second appointment.
At the second visit the temporary cover is removed and the permanent restoration is set in place. There may be some minor adjustments made to the inlay or onlay to ensure it fits properly. Poorly fitting restorations like fillings, crowns, inlays and onlays can actually weaken and damage teeth, so this step is important.
Finally, the restoration is polished to match the natural tooth and the process is complete.
Each appointment will take around an hour. The time it takes to create an inlay or onlay is typically a few days, but can depend on things like how busy the lab making it is at the time.
Dental bonding uses a tooth-coloured material that is affixed to broken or damaged teeth. At Dentrix Dental Care, we perform dental bonding with composite material to rebuild broken teeth and fill cavities.
Dental bonding can be used cosmetically and restorative. Any restoration will always have a cosmetic component, but some cosmetic applications only serve to improve appearance. Bonding can be used for either situation.
What Are Dental Bondings Used to Fix?
Dental bonds can:
- Repair decay
- Close space between teeth
- Create larger looking teeth
- Adjust tooth shape
- Protect against receding gum
What Is Dental Bonding Made With, Exactly?
Dental bonding is made with composite resin, which is a mixture of plastic and ground glass. Composite resin is an incredibly versatile material that is used in many restorative processes such as:
- Inlays and Onlays
Dental Bonding Process
Dental bonding can be performed as quickly as one session. Because composite resin can be hardened from a paste with the use of a special light, it’s possible to restore many teeth in a single sitting.
Preparing for a dental bonding is straightforward. There is no anaesthesia necessary for most dental bonding, unless a decayed tooth needs to be drilled to prepare it first. Mostly the thing that needs to happen is choosing the right shade of color for the composite to match your teeth.
Next, the surface of the tooth is prepared with a conditioning liquid. The surface may also be roughened so the bonding can adhere better.
For the actual bonding process, the dentist applies thin layers of composite material onto the tooth and hardens it with a special light. This is repeated for as many layers as are needed to create the restoration.
The length of time needed for dental bonding will depend on a few factors, such as:
- How many teeth need to be bonded.
- What type of bonding work needs to be performed. A composite veneer bonding can require fewer layers than restoring a decayed tooth, for example.
Generally, however, it takes 30-60 minutes per tooth.
Benefits of Dental Bonding
Dental bonding is a fast, cost effective way of addressing a myriad of problems. Patients can have several different types of problems fixed in a single session with a single process using dental bonding.
Cons of Dental Bonding
Composite resin is not a very stain resistant material. It does have a tendency to discolor faster than the tooth around it, particularly if you drink a lot of tea, coffee, red wine, or smoke.
Composite resin isn’t as durable as porcelain. It can chip and crack and break off the tooth.
For these reasons, dental bonding is usually regarded as a great temporary solution while permanent or more durable restorations are created, or for fast cosmetic touches.
Bonding, Inlay and Onlay FAQ
How long do inlays and onlays last?
This will depend on the material used. Porcelain will last up around 12 years, while gold can last for several decades. Composite resin restorations may only last for 3-5 years, particularly on molars where they’re under a lot of pressure.
How long does dental bonding last?
This will depend more on where the bonding is applied. Front teeth that aren’t under a lot of pressure will last longer than back teeth. Bonding material can last 3-10 years before needing to be touched up or replaced.
Does getting an inlay or onlay hurt?
It won’t hurt, but there will be an adjustment period as you get used to a new surface in your mouth. There may also be some discomfort around the tooth for a few days as tissues settle down. If there’s any real pain, consult your dentist.
My tooth has completely cracked open, which procedure do I get?
This damage is beyond the scope of these procedures. An extraction may be required. Consult with your dentist.
Is there anyone who can’t get bonding, inlays or onlays?
There’s nothing really stopping anyone from getting these procedures. The only thing that prevents someone from being an ideal patient is if their problem is too severe for any of them to adequately fix.
When you are looking for inlays and onlays or dental bonding in NW Calgary, call our office and schedule an appointment today.