Even when people brush and floss their teeth on a regular basis, it is still possible for someone to suffer from tooth decay. Tooth decay occurs when plaque, a sticky substance left behind by food and drink, adheres to the teeth and starts to eat through hard enamel. The result is permanent erosion of the enamel and holes that can expose the soft inner tissue.
One solution available for patients is inlays and onlays now available in Worcester, MA. Inlays and onlays fill the holes left behind by the decay, and Lee Family Dental Care is glad to help.
An inlay is an indirect filling manufactured outside of the mouth and then inserted in the tooth. It is vital in protecting the structure of the tooth that has been eroded by decay. Although older inlays tended to be made of gold or amalgam (silver), more modern versions tend to use a tooth-colored composite resin. This resin is almost indistinguishable from a regular tooth, so the fillings are not as obvious when you smile.
An onlay is another indirect filling that needs to be made in a dental lab instead of using a liquid substance directly inserted into the tooth. While the inlay is supposed to go in the tooth and only slightly appears on the top, the onlay can actually cover the top and cusps of the tooth. Patients tend to need onlays when the enamel on a molar or similar tooth is mostly gone. Again, most modern variations use a tooth-colored composite resin instead of being made from gold or amalgam.
Receiving an inlay or onlay takes slightly longer than a direct filling but has stellar results. To create either structure, our dentist needs to make a mold of the affected tooth after it has been cleaned and sanitized. The permanent inlay or onlay is completed in roughly two weeks, at which the patient can return and have their filling installed.
Patients who want to preserve their tooth structure by avoiding the drilling of a direct filling should choose an inlay or onlay.