If you are like most people, you have probably had a cavity at some point in your life. Maybe you have even had enough decay to need a crown. Inlays and onlays are two useful tools our dentist in San Fernando Valley uses in treating cavities and tooth decay.
Like a filling, an inlay is used to fill a cavity. However, unlike a traditional filling that is placed inside a cavity while still a soft consistency and then hardened, an inlay is made by a lab and placed inside the cavity when it is already hard. Materials tend to expand when they are hardened. Though this expansion is almost imperceptible, the strain from a traditional filling being hardened inside the tooth can cause a weak tooth to break. For this reason, inlays are desirable over traditional fillings when a tooth is fragile, such as when the cavity is large.
Onlays are made in the same manner as an inlay. The primary difference between them is that an onlay covers the top of the tooth and extends over at least one of its sides. An onlay can actually extend over all sides of a tooth, covering the entire tooth. A crown is an example of such an onlay. An onlay is used on a tooth that has more extensive damage.
If you have a large cavity or a cracked, broken or decayed tooth, contact our office to find out how an inlay or onlay can help.