When it comes to treating tooth decay, there are a few different options available. You can use a direct filling, an indirect filling, or a dental crown. In this blog post, we will focus on indirect fillings and discuss the differences between inlays and onlays. We will also explain when one restoration is better than the other. Finally, we will list the benefits of using an indirect filling instead of a direct filling or dental crown.
What is an indirect filling?
An indirect filling is a restoration that is made outside of the mouth. This means that the filling will be custom-made to fit your tooth and then it will be cemented onto the tooth. There are two types of indirect fillings:
An inlay is an indirect filling that covers the biting surface of a tooth.
An onlay is an indirect filling that covers one or more cusps, or points, of a tooth.
Inlays and onlays are used to restore teeth that have been damaged by decay or injury. They are also used to prevent further tooth decay. Inlays and onlays are made from different materials, including gold, porcelain, or composite resin. They are made to be strong and durable, and they can last for many years with proper care.
Inlays and onlays are placed in a two-step process. First, the tooth is prepared by removing any decay or damaged tooth structure. An impression of the tooth is then taken and sent to a dental laboratory. In the meantime, a temporary filling will be placed to protect the tooth.
The inlay or onlay is made at the dental laboratory and then shipped back to the dentist. The second step is to place the inlay or onlay onto the tooth. This is done using a strong dental adhesive. After the restoration has been adhered to the tooth, the margins will be carefully blended so that the junction between the filling and enamel is seamless.
Benefits of Indirect Fillings
Indirect fillings are most commonly recommended by dentists in cases where the damage or decay is too extensive for a direct composite filling to fix, but not extensive enough to warrant the placement of a dental crown. Instead, indirect fillings provide an effective way to restore the tooth, while minimizing the amount of work that needs to be done.
The benefits of using an indirect filling instead of a direct filling or dental crown include:
- They are less invasive than dental crowns because only a small amount of tooth structure is removed
- They can be made from different materials, including gold, porcelain, or composite resin
- They are strong and durable, and they can last for many years with proper care
- They last longer than direct fillings and retain their color
- They are less likely to leak around the borders of the filling when compared to direct fillings
- Can strengthen weak teeth
Inlay or Onlay: Which is Best?
At this point, you may be wondering whether it is better to have an inlay or an onlay placed. While both restorations work well, there are a few cases where one restoration may be better than the other. For instance, inlays are typically used to restore smaller areas of tooth decay that are limited to the biting surface of the tooth. On the other hand, onlays are used to restore larger areas of tooth decay, and can be used on one or more of the tooth’s cusps. However, if the tooth is severely damaged, a dental crown may be necessary.
If you have tooth decay, be sure to talk to your dentist about the best treatment option for you. Indirect fillings are a great option for restoring teeth that have been damaged by decay or injury. They are less invasive, and they can be made from different materials. Indirect fillings are also strong and durable, and they can last for many years with proper care.
In this blog, we have discussed indirect fillings and how they can be used to restore teeth that have been damaged by decay or injury. We have also explained the difference between an inlay and onlay, and we have provided a step-by-step guide on how these restorations are placed. Finally, we have discussed the benefits of using an indirect filling instead of a direct filling or dental crown, and when to choose an inlay vs an onlay. If you have tooth decay, be sure to talk to your dentist about the best treatment option for you. Thanks for reading!
Dr. Alina Huang has been practicing dentistry in Manhattan for the last eight years. She was born in New York City, and raised in California where she received her Bachelor’s degree at UCLA, and her D.D.S. at the University of the Pacific in San Francisco. She then made her return to NYC where she completed her General Practice Residency at Montefiore Medical Center and has been working in private practice ever since. She continues her learning by attending courses to stay current with the latest advancements in dentistry and refine her skills.