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Dental filling is not the only way to fix a cavity. There is a better alternative to the traditional filling materials and they are inlays and onlays. They are more durable than the filling materials.
Inlays and onlays are custom-made porcelain jackets used to fill in the cavity after the dentist has excavated all decay from the tooth. Inlays and onlays are similar to each other. They are made of the same materials and fabricated with the same process. Inlays are smaller porcelain jackets covering the innard of the tooth structures. Onlays are bigger porcelain jackets covering a bigger area and usually they would extend to cover the sharp pointy cusp of the tooth. These porcelain jackets are made of special type of porcelain that is more durable than the traditional filling materials such as the composite or the amalgam. They are custom-made in the lab.
The dental process of inlays and onlays are almost like the filling procedures. After numbing the patient, a dentist would remove all decay in the tooth. Then depending on the depth of the cavity, dentist might add a base layer for additional insulation to the tooth. Then the dentist would take impression of the tooth capturing the exact shape of the cavity. Then, based on the impression model, the lab can make the inlay or onlay. In the final visit, the inlay or onlay can be cemented.
Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS
Cosmetic Dental Office in Tempe AZ — White Tooth-Colored Fillings, Porcelain Crowns, Veneers, Inlays, Onlays
Serving the city of Tempe, Chandler, Phoenix, Gilbert, and Mesa in Arizona. Practicing General Dentist