An inlay and an onlay are two popular oral restorations that might be recommended if you have a tooth that has been damaged by decay or trauma. These restorations are typically recommended when the damage is too severe for fillings but is not severe enough to require a crown.
Figuring out the right type of onlay or inlay for you
Onlays and inlays are indirect restorations that are usually made in a dental lab. They are cemented to damaged teeth. There are three main types of onlays and inlays commonly used in dentistry: gold, composite, and porcelain.
Porcelain inlays and onlays are among the most popular and lead to the most natural-looking restorations. These also tend to bond better with the patient’s teeth. Gold inlays and onlays are the most durable types and have a decorative effect. They are not natural-looking, though. Composite inlays and onlays are better alternatives to composite fillings because they will not shrink, like the latter is known to do. Let us take a more detailed look at the different types of inlays and onlays.
Porcelain inlays and onlays give patients natural-looking restorations. Porcelain has a natural white color like real teeth, and it is just as translucent. It makes it easy for a dentist to match the restoration with the color of the patient’s teeth, so any repairs will blend in. Porcelain inlays are typically made in dental labs, but some dentists can manufacture them on site if they have the necessary equipment.
Gold is a great material for making onlays and inlays, but it tends to be the most expensive option. Also, gold inlays and onlays are impossible to miss, and some people do not like how they look.
While gold teeth and restorations might not be for everyone, gold restorations are the most durable options. They are highly resistant to wear, and they can handle larger bite forces than any other material. Placing a gold inlay or onlay also reduces how much enamel needs to be removed to prepare the tooth for the restoration. A gold onlay or inlay can last over 30 years. Many dentists often opt for gold restorations due to the superior durability that it has compared to other materials.
A composite onlay or inlay is made from a mixture of plastics and glass in a lab. The restoration is created from an impression of the patient’s teeth in the clinic and cemented into place. Composite inlays and onlays are often viewed as better alternatives to composite fillings because they do not shrink after installation. These types of restorations cause less damage to adjacent teeth than porcelain restorations.
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