Porcelain inlays and onlays are used by some dentists as an alternative to full crowns and traditional fillings. In fact, another term that is sometimes use for porcelain inlays and onlays is “indirect fillings.” When used to treat tooth decay, this method of treatment is best used when the condition is mild to moderate.
What are porcelain inlays and onlays?
Porcelain inlays and onlays are thin pieces of porcelain that are placed on or in the tooth to restore its integrity or appearance. They are called inlays when they are placed in the centre (biting surface) of the tooth and they are called onlays when they are placed on the front, back or sides of tooth.
Unlike traditional fillings which are shaped to the patient’s tooth at the dental office, inlays and onlays are shaped at a dental lab and are then bonded to the patient’s tooth by the dentist.
What are the benefits of using porcelain inlays or onlays as a treatment for tooth decay?
If your dentist deems that porcelain inlays or onlays are a suitable alternative to traditional fillings or crowns, there are several advantages.
- Better fit – using inlays and onlays allows your dentist to preserve as much of your healthy tooth as possible. This makes them a great choice when there is only minor damage to the tooth.
- Tooth colour – Tooth coloured fillings may be subject to colour alternation over time. Porcelain inlays and onlays retain their colour much better.
- Preservation of the tooth – since more of the original tooth is able to be preserved, choosing inlays or onlays over resin fillings may mean that you are improving the longevity of the tooth.
- Easy cleaning – Since you can expect a superior fit, it will be very easy to clean your teeth with inlays and onlays. This is especially true in cases where the onlay extends into the gumline.
- Good for tight spaces – if you have a cavity that is between two teeth, a porcelain onlay may be your best option for sealing out bacteria.
- Very durable – porcelain inlays and onlays are extremely durable. They are so durable in fact, that they can even help to strengthen a weak tooth.
At Sapphire Dental, we proudly offer porcelain inlay and only treatments – and depending on the condition of your teeth, we may recommend it as an alternative to fillings or crowns. If you would like to learn more, contact our office today.