Inlays & Onlays

Inlays & Onlays

Inlays and onlays are dental restorations used by dentists in Los Gatos, CA, to repair decayed, damaged, or fractured teeth, often as an alternative to traditional fillings or crowns. Inlays are used to fill cavities within the cusps (the raised points on the chewing surface) of a tooth, while onlays extend to cover one or more cusps or even the entire biting surface. Both are typically crafted from porcelain, composite resin, or gold, offering a durable and aesthetic solution.

The procedure involves removing the decayed portion of the tooth, taking an impression, and then fitting a custom-made inlay or onlay that matches the tooth's shape and color, ensuring a precise fit and restoring the tooth's function and appearance. This approach is particularly advantageous for conserving more of the natural tooth structure than full crowns. Orchid Dental Care

Distinguishing Between Inlays and Onlays 

Inlays and onlays are versatile solutions for addressing dental decay, damage, or fractures, but understanding their subtle differences is crucial in determining the most suitable treatment. Inlays and onlays differ primarily in the extent of tooth coverage they provide. Inlays are designed to fill cavities within a tooth's cusps or chewing surface, offering a conservative approach that preserves more of the natural tooth structure. On the other hand, onlays extend beyond the cusps to cover one or more of them or even the entire biting surface of the tooth. This broader coverage makes onlays ideal for addressing more extensive damage while conserving healthy tooth structure.  

Furthermore, the preparation process for inlays and onlays varies based on the extent of coverage required. Inlays typically involve minimal tooth preparation, with the dentist removing only the decayed or damaged tooth portion to accommodate the restoration. This conservative approach helps maintain the integrity of the remaining tooth structure. Conversely, onlays may require more extensive tooth preparation as they cover a larger area. This may involve shaping the tooth to ensure proper fit and alignment for the onlay. Despite these differences, both inlays and onlays provide durable, custom-fit solutions that blend seamlessly with the natural teeth, restoring functionality and aesthetics with precision and care. 

The Procedure of Inlays and Onlays 

Initial Consultation

The journey begins with an initial consultation with our dentist at Orchid Dental Care. During this visit, the dentist will thoroughly examine your teeth, assessing the extent of decay, damage, or other concerns that may necessitate inlays or onlays. X-rays and other diagnostic tools may be employed to gather comprehensive information about the condition of your teeth and underlying structures. Based on their evaluation, the dentist will determine whether you are a suitable candidate for inlays or onlays and discuss the treatment plan with you. 

Tooth Preparation

If inlays or onlays are deemed appropriate, the next step involves preparing the affected tooth or teeth. This process typically entails removing the decayed or damaged portion of the tooth to create space for the restoration. Unlike traditional fillings, which could require more extensive removal of healthy tooth structure, inlays and onlays are designed to conserve as much of the natural tooth as possible. The dentist will carefully shape the tooth to ensure a precise fit for the upcoming restoration. 

Impression Taking

Once the tooth has been prepared, the dentist will take an impression of the tooth and surrounding teeth. This impression is a model that serves as a guide for fabricating a dental laboratory's custom inlay or onlay. The dentist may use traditional dental putty or digital scanning technology to capture detailed impressions accurately. The goal is to create a restoration that perfectly matches the prepared tooth's size, shape, and contours, ensuring optimal fit and functionality.  

Temporary Restoration 

While the permanent inlay or onlay is being fabricated in the dental laboratory, a temporary restoration may be placed to protect the tooth and maintain its function and appearance. This temporary restoration is designed to provide temporary coverage until the permanent restoration is ready for placement. It's essential to follow any instructions provided by our dentist regarding care and maintenance of the temporary restoration to ensure optimal outcomes. 

Bonding the Restoration

Once the custom inlay or onlay has been fabricated, it is time for the final fitting and bonding. The dentist will carefully place the restoration onto the prepared tooth, ensuring a precise fit and alignment. Dental adhesive is then used to bond the restoration securely to the tooth surface. The dentist will assess and adjust the fit to ensure optimal comfort and functionality. Once the restoration is in place, it is polished to blend seamlessly with the surrounding teeth, providing a natural and aesthetically pleasing result. 

Post-Procedure Care and Follow-Up

After the inlay or onlay has been bonded to the tooth, the dentist will provide instructions on post-procedure care and hygiene practices. It's essential to follow these instructions diligently to ensure proper healing and longevity of the restoration. Regular dental checkups and cleanings are recommended to monitor the health of the restored tooth and address any concerns promptly. Contact us today! 

The Benefits of Inlays and Onlays 

  • Inlays and onlays in Los Gatos, CA, require minimal tooth preparation, preserving more of the healthy tooth structure than traditional crowns. 
  • Made with materials like porcelain and composite resin, inlays and onlays blend seamlessly with the natural teeth, enhancing the smile's appearance.  
  • Inlays and onlays made from high-quality materials are durable and long-lasting, providing reliable functionality for years. 
  • Each inlay or onlay is custom made to fit the individual tooth perfectly, ensuring optimal comfort and functionality. 
  • Inlays and onlays offer enhanced protection against further decay or damage by reinforcing and strengthening the tooth structure. 

Dental inlays and onlays represent a modern approach to restorative dentistry, combining functional restoration with aesthetic excellence. Visit Orchid Dental Care at 320 Los Gatos—Saratoga Road, Los Gatos, CA 95030, or call (408) 395-8888 to explore the benefits of dental inlays and onlays. Whether you're seeking conservative restoration with inlays or broader coverage with onlays, our experienced dental team is here to help.

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Los Gatos, CA

320 Los Gatos—Saratoga Road, Los Gatos, CA 95030


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