When a middle or back tooth (we call these premolars and molars) is damaged by dental decay or breakage we used to be faced with the decision of placing a filling, or if the damage was more extensive, making a crown. But there are many situations where the damage to the tooth is in the medium category, too damaged for a filling but not damaged enough for a crown.
We now have the technology to restore that tooth back to essentially brand new using dental treatments called an inlay or onlay.
- Inlay: a porcelain replacement for a section of a tooth that is a bit too damaged for just a filling but does not require a full crown (cap).
- Onlay: a porcelain replacement for a section of a tooth that has been damaged to a point where one of the biting or chewing tips (cusp) requires strengthening or replacement.
Inlays and onlays are so lifelike and beautiful that another dentist or hygienist can miss the fact that a tooth has been treated. Very similar to a crown, an inlay or onlay is made by a dental technician, during which time you will be wearing a temporary piece while the technician creates the inlay or onlay. The dentist then bonds the inlay or onlay to your tooth.
If your tooth is too damaged for a filling, getting an inlay or onlay can preserve more of your natural tooth because it doesn’t need to be reshaped as much as it would need to be if you were to get a crown. Inlays and onlays are also durable and long lasting with proper hygiene and regular dental cleanings.
If you have a damaged tooth or are experiencing pain, contact our office for more information on how this dental procedure can help you. We serve patients in Clayton, St. Louis, St. Charles and surrounding communities.