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Inlays and Onlays

Smiling patient receiving exam with dental mirrorCavities are a serious dental issue that affects millions of people of all ages. Cavities form as the result of tooth decay. Decay happens when the acids produced by plaque and bacteria erode the protective enamel layer of your teeth. This erosion weakens your enamel, eventually giving way to cavities. Once cavities form, they cannot be reversed. If they are not treated, they only continue to grow worse. They can eventually compromise the structure of the tooth and even allow bacteria into the inner layers of the teeth. When bacteria get inside the teeth, they can cause a very serious, very painful infection. While many cavities can be treated with fillings, there are some that pose unique issues. Del Mar Dental offers an alternative to traditional fillings with porcelain onlays.

Typical Cavity Treatment

Fillings are the most common treatment for cavities. There are two types of fillings: amalgam, and composite. Amalgam, or silver, fillings are made up of a mixture of metals in liquid mercury. While exceptionally strong, they are not always preferred. Composite fillings use composite resin, or a mixture of fine glass, plastic, and other materials. This material, while not as strong as amalgam, is tooth colored. They are also free of metal and mercury.

Both amalgam and composite fillings can be used in a variety of different situations. However, if a cavity forms on the chewing surface of the molar, these fillings can compromise the tooth. Amalgam fillings can be driven into the cavity, splitting the tooth. Composite fillings may not be able to withstand the chewing forces and can shatter under pressure.

Porcelain Onlays

Porcelain onlays are a solution for cavities on the chewing surfaces of your molars. It is an indirect filling designed to restore a molar where decay has affected two or more of the cusps. Commonly referred to as a partial crown, an onlay rebuilds both the structure and the strength of the affected tooth. With porcelain, the appearance of the tooth is also restored. Porcelain can be made to blend in perfectly with the color of the rest of the tooth, providing a seamless restoration.

Getting Your Onlays

The process for getting onlays is different from traditional fillings. Onlays are a type of indirect filling. This means that they are created outside of the tooth, rather than cured inside of it. After we clean the tooth and drill away the decay, we take an impression of your mouth. This impression is sent to our dental lab, where the onlay is designed and created. Once it is ready, we check its fit inside the cavity and also make sure that your bite is normal. Finally, if no adjustments are needed, the onlay is bonded into place on the tooth.

Onlay Benefits

There are numerous benefits associated with porcelain onlays:
•  They do not compromise the strength of the tooth. Instead, they restore its strength.
•  Less tooth structure needs to be drilled away than with traditional fillings.
•  They are less invasive and more affordable than dental crowns.
•  They will not shrink after being placed in the cavity.
•  Porcelain looks just like your natural teeth.
•  Porcelain does not contain any metals or mercury. It is also not affected by temperature changes.

If you have a cavity that is affecting two or more cusps on your molar, a traditional filling can compromise the tooth further. In cases such as these, an onlay can help. For more information, and to find out if porcelain onlays are right for you, call Del Mar Dental today at (817) 710-2609.
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Del Mar Dental, 6726 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth, TX 76116 ^ (817) 710-2609 ^ ^ 3/30/2023 ^ Tags: dentist Fort Worth ^