Tooth Restoration: Filling Cavities With Porcelain Onlays And Inlays

Ignoring cavities on your teeth can potentially put you in a gray area regarding your dental well-being by leaving you vulnerable to periodontal disease, tooth decay and tooth sensitivity. If allowed to worsen, tooth cavities may eventually call for invasive and more expensive treatments such as extraction or a root canal.

A good option for people with dental cavities is to get 'partial crowns' also known as onlays/inlays to restore their teeth. Read on to learn how restorative onlays and inlays could cover your cavities and help improve your dental aesthetics and health.

Dental inlays

These are natural-looking restorations made from porcelain that can be used to cover small cavities on the rounded edges at the center of the tooth's surface. Holes between tooth cusps can make chewing uncomfortable and trap food debris that can cause bad breath and periodontal disease. Cosmetic dentists typically recommend inlays for people with teeth that are too impaired to support composite fillings but not too deteriorated to require a full crown.

Patients who are self-conscious about the appearance of silver or gold dental fillings can also benefit from inlays that are typically white in color and resemble tooth enamel. If you are allergic to metal fillings, then inlays could also be a good alternative to restoring your deteriorated tooth surfaces.

Porcelain inlays can also be a good alternative to Amalgam fillings for covering small and medium cavities because they do not darken over time, unlike their counterpart which may cause the outlying enamel to appear gray. Amalgam fillings also require the dentist to remove a portion of healthy tooth pulp and enamel to fit the restoration, which could ultimately weaken the tooth structure. With inlays, only the decayed part of the tooth is removed, preserving more of the tooth structure.

Dental onlays

These are restorations that are used to repair a decayed tooth without using a crown. The porcelain fillings are often suited to fixing broken or deteriorated cusps on the tooth surface or fill cavities across the surface of the tooth. Like inlays, dental onlays are tooth-colored fillings that can be used to replace unsightly silver or gold fillings.

Cosmetic dentists may also recommend that you go for an onlay when they fear that using a large composite resin filling could weaken the tooth structure, or that capping the tooth with a crown would unnecessarily require for a big chunk of your natural tooth enamel to be removed.

Partial crowns can be a good compromise between getting a large tooth filling that could weaken your tooth structure or a dental crown that would be expensive and require extensive removal of your remaining natural tooth enamel.