You have a big filling that needs replacement. Do you have to get a full crown? Not necessarily. A more conservative option is inlays and onlays, which fit into a tooth similarly to a filling. However, they are fabricated restorations, much like a crown. The bumps on top of a tooth are called cusps. Inlays fit between cusps while onlays fit over one or more cusps. Inlays and onlays allow a patient to retain more natural tooth structure, which is always best.
Not every situation is right for an inlay or onlay, but our dentists at Smile Fitness Dental Center will assess your problem and determine the best solution for you. Because they are created in a lab like a crown, inlays and onlays require two appointments. At the first visit, we will prepare your tooth by removing your tooth decay or old filling and cleaning the area. We will take a dental impression and send it to our dental lab so that a technician can create a custom inlay or onlay for you. The dentist will determine the best material to use. In most cases, teeth that show when you smile or speak can have a white restoration. A metal inlay or onlay may be preferred on back teeth because of the extreme pressure. You'll wear a temporary until the lab delivers your final restoration.
At the second appointment, the dentist will remove your temporary and permanently cement your final inlay or onlay into position. After polishing and modifying the restoration as necessary to ensure proper bite alignment, you'll enjoy your stronger and healthier smile for years to come.