An inlay or onlay dental restoration is normally used to mend teeth that have suffered minimal to average damage. Teeth that still have enough structure to sustain fillings but do not need the additional support of a dental crown. Inlays and onlays are made from porcelain materials, which when fused together with current teeth will closely resemble organic teeth, giving a surprisingly natural and organic look.
The only apparent difference between an onlay and an inlay filling is size. The inlay can only be inserted in the centre of a tooth and merely extends from the back of the tooth to the front of it. The onlay on the other hand, does the same plus it can cover any of the broken segments; it is far more extensive and will envelop more surface area. The great advantage of an indirect filling is that a smaller amount of natural tooth structure needs to be removed in preparation phases and the indirect restoration is made to fit inside the existing structure of the tooth.
The inlay or onlay procedure will entail approximately three visits to complete.
The first appointment will entail local freezing to the damaged tooth and the inserting of a rubber dam to ensure that no dental materials slide down the throat. The tooth can then be appropriately examined and any worn fillings or tooth decay can be taken out and the area is thoroughly cleaned. Once remodeled and cleaned, the oral health care professional can begin making molds to be given to a dentistry laboratory to manufacture the new filling. Finally, the patient will be given an interim acrylic restoration to allow them to carry on normal activities.
It will take roughly a week for the brand new restoration to be created at which time the fitting will occur. Again the surrounding are and the damaged tooth is frozen, a rubber dam is installed, and the interim acrylic restoration is pulled to allow the new ceramic restoration to be cemented/bonded in. Once the restoration is inserted, the bite can be evaluated and all tooth exteriors can be polished.
The third and final appointment is required to evaluate the bite once again, to check the ability of dental floss to move around the filling, and to ensure all the surfaces are smooth.
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