At Concord Woods Dental Group in Concord, MA, restorative dentistry is our passion. We want to help individuals of all ages, genders, and backgrounds maintain strong and healthy smiles to last a lifetime. This is why we use the latest techniques and technology to ensure every visit is comfortable, educational, and focused on what an individual needs to achieve optimal oral health and wellness.
One of our most common procedures involves treating a tooth after it has been affected by decay. Instead of using fillings, we prefer the more stable inlays and onlays.
A dental inlay is similar to a filling but slightly different. Instead of being a liquid substance inserted into the tooth and then allowed to harden – like a filling – an inlay is a separate appliance. The inlay is created in a dental lab and then bonded to a tooth, resulting in a permanent and closer fit. The result is a form of tooth restoration that is less prone to damage and decay, meaning teeth can remain healthier for longer after recovering from decay.
An onlay is similar to an inlay but covers more area on the tooth. The onlay is bonded to the interior, similar to an inlay, but includes extra material to help recreate the top and cusps. The result is a reconstructed tooth that can be used for regular activities like eating and chewing.
In previous years, inlays and onlays were made of gold or amalgam (silver), which was quite noticeable. At a contemporary office like ours, our professional lab can create a formfitting inlay or onlay using a tooth-colored composite resin that resembles the rest of the tooth. The result is a seamless fit that is indistinguishable to the average individual, recreating the image of a natural, healthy smile.
When properly cared for, inlays and onlays can last a lifetime. The main risk is that plaque and bacteria will be able to infiltrate the gap between the appliance and the natural tooth. However, this is uncommon and only tends to occur when patients do not practice proper oral hygiene.