Bite. Crack. Ouch! A cracked or broken tooth is a real problem. Unlike other bones in your body, a broken tooth will not heal itself and needs to be cared for immediately. Depending on the extent and location of the damage, your dentist will likely recommend inlays, onlays, or a crown. All versions of the same idea, these restorative dentistry treatments are custom-made covers to protect your tooth and restore it to its full, healthy, and functioning condition.
Another reason you may need an inlay, onlay, or a crown is due to extensive tooth decay breaking down your tooth that requires more than a simple filling to fix.
Here’s how your options compare:
- Fillings: only fill a small, center portion of the biting surface of your tooth and is not a treatment for extensive damage
- Inlays: fill a larger portion of the biting surface than a filling contained within the cusp
- Onlays: fill and cover the biting surface of your tooth including up and over the rounded ridges (cusps)
- Crowns: cover the whole tooth; all or most of the portion visible above your gums
Benefits of Inlays & Onlays
Inlays and onlays can be a great intermediate solution between a filling and a crown. Neighborhood Smiles can help determine if you need an inlay or onlay. If you do, here are some of the benefits:
- While considered a relatively “old” technique, inlays/onlays are still the most appropriate and most effective treatment in many cases.
- Your tooth can withstand 50-75% more chewing pressure with an inlay or onlay.
- Inlays/onlays are a restorative dentistry treatment that holistically heals your tooth.
- Inlays/onlays can last longer than fillings.
- Inlays/onlays are made with porcelain or resin to match your natural tooth color.
- An inlay or onlay is less expensive than a crown.
- Sometimes an inlay or onlay can be completed during one dental visit.
- An inlay/onlay fits perfectly over your tooth so there will be no bulging that bothers your tongue, cheek, or bite.
Getting an Inlay or Onlay
If you’re in the Onalaska area and need an inlay or onlay, Dr. Ochsner has you covered! Depending on your case, the inlay/onlay treatment will either require one or two trips to Neighborhood Smiles.
For the two-visit process: the tooth is prepared by cleaning out any decay and taking an impression. The dentist may give you a temporary filling just to protect the tooth from further damage. The inlay or onlay will then be made in a lab using your impression. You’ll return for a second visit to remove the temporary filling and have your inlay/onlay permanently placed on your tooth.
For the one-visit process: the tooth will still be prepared with a good cleaning. But instead of taking impressions, the dentist uses digital technology to take a photo of your tooth and create a perfect inlay/onlay right there in the office. You’ll relax until it is ready and they will place it on your tooth, all in one day. Call us today to make an appointment for a professional assessment of what kind of filling, crown, inlay or onlay you might need.