When decay has damaged a tooth, removal of the infected tissue is required. Replacement material is used to “fill” the area taken out. Where the damage is minor, a filling made of gold, porcelain, silver amalgam (which consists of mercury mixed with silver, tin, zinc, and copper), or materials called composite resin are used to pack the hole. In cases where the damage is more severe, the dentist may choose between a dental inlay or onlay.
Candidates ideally suited for inlays or onlays fall in between those who have enough damage to require more than a simple filling, but are not sufficiently damaged to need a crown. These are middle-of-the-road restorations used to repair teeth with moderate decay or cracked and fractured teeth that can still be fortified without completely covering them—conserving the patient’s original tooth structure.
Many times, when an old filling is worn out and needs to be removed, dental inlays and onlays are used to replace them. A dental inlay is a pre-molded filling fitted into the grooves of a tooth and does not extend over the cusps of the tooth. Dental onlays are used to repair a tooth that has more extensive damage affecting the cusp or tips of the tooth, and/or potentially the biting surface.
It takes two appointments to bond an inlay or onlay onto damaged teeth. At your initial visit, under local anesthesia, the dentist will clean out the affected area and take an impression of the tooth. This is then sent to a dental laboratory where the new inlay or onlay is molded from porcelain, gold or a composite resin material. Once received by our dentist, at your second appointment, he will cement it into place.
If you would like to speak to our dentist about dental fillings, onlays or inlays, call Dr. Bullock and our helpful team at Rex L. Bullock DDS, Inc. Phone: 951-737-1149, or come by our office in Corona, CA.