Complicated tooth decay arises when we cannot effectively cure tooth decay or cavity using the simple dental filling. Moreover, such tooth can also not accommodate the full length of a crown. In this situation, the best treatment to apply are inlays or outlays.
These two methods are an outward filling process because it is not carried out inside the mouth (usually takes place at a dental laboratory) – after the fabrication, the dentist, then, joins it to the tooth. This step differentiates inlay/onlay from the direct filling that occurs within the cavity inside the mouth and can even take place at the dentist office.
An inlay, then, is defined as an indirect filling that perfectly suits into the tiny cusps at the molar or premolar tooth. It is an onlay if it suits into more than one tiny cusps.
How does this process work?
The experience with inlays or onlays is quite similar to that of the crown placement. Perhaps, the difference between them is that only a smaller part of your tooth’s structure is removed while drilling during the inlay or onlay procedure. This process is preferable by dentists because it will help to preserve more component of the natural tooth.
To carryout this surgery, first, a local anesthesia has to be applied to the tooth region to make these areas insensitive to pain or discomfort. Afterward, eliminate the decay so that it won’t cause further damage to the tooth.
After taking out the tooth and preparing it, the dentist will create a digital or photographic duplicate of the tooth, which he shall forward to the dental laboratory. At the lab, the image will be used to replicate another tooth where a permanent inlay/onlay shall be created.
After the whole process, a temporary filling will take place (since the restored tooth isn’t ready yet), to protect the area of decay. After some days, when you return to the dentist, the onlay/inlay is ready, and at this point, the dentist will make use of a gold or tooth-colored resin to fix your tooth inside the mouth.
The merits of onlays and inlays are that they provide a long-lasting effect, and does not require you to always cater for it, unlike the other tooth. What you need to do is to abide by your daily oral hygiene and visit your dentist once in a while for cleaning. With this, you will experience the perfect and permanent restoration.