Many people have no understanding of inlays or onlays. The short answer is, they are both an intermediate treatment for advanced tooth decay. Normally, when you get a cavity, you will need a filling. With a typical filling, the dentist will drill through the tooth and remove the decay, and then fill the hole with a substance made from gold, silver amalgam, porcelain, or a composite resin. This is a typical case of minor damage that is caught early.
If there is severe damage where a good portion of the tooth is compromised, the decay is removed and the tooth is ground down and fitted with a dental crown that encompasses and caps what is left remaining of the original tooth. While the tooth was saved, and a crown looks completely natural, the natural tooth is completely covered.
Dental inlays and onlays are intermediate measures to fillings and crowns used when the filling is not enough to protect the structure of the tooth, and a crown goes too far. An inlay is a pre-molded filling fitted into the grooves of a tooth and does not extend over the cusps of tooth. Dental onlays are used when the damage has affected the cusp or tips of the tooth, and/or potentially the biting surface. Both are treatments that can fill the void made by decay, but also protect the structure of the original tooth without necessitating further destruction of the natural tooth.
If you would like to speak to our dentist about dental fillings, onlays or inlays, call our helpful team at Adaptive Dental Associates. Phone: 908-847-4498. Make an appointment or come by our office in Phillipsburg, New Jersey.