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Inlays & Onlays


Woman smiling with perfect teeth.While your dental health should be of importance to you, Riverstone Family Dentistry understands that there are many dental terms that you're probably quite unfamiliar with. These terms include things like inlays and onlays.

Understanding Inlays and Onlays


Inlays and onlays are a type of indirect restoration that's used to fill any cavities you may have in the back of your mouth. This means that they're made in a lab. They consist of a single, solid piece of ceramic or porcelain that matches the color of your tooth. Once manufactured, they're fitted in your mouth inside the grooves of a tooth, then cemented into place there. Their job is to repair your tooth's chewing surface while remaining invisible to anyone but you.

Inlays and onlays are different from dental fillings because fillings are made and molded into place inside your mouth while you're in our dental chair. They're also different from one another. The primary distinction here is that while an onlay covers your tooth's cusp, an inlay simply fills the area between your tooth's cusps - the center of your tooth. Regardless of whether you're getting a filling, an inlay, or an onlay, we'll still need to drill the cavity.

Inlays and Onlays vs. Dental Crowns


Inlays are also different from a crown because the crown covers the tooth's entire surface and tooth structure above your gum line. Of course, you could see the similarities between onlays and crowns because they both cover the cusps of your teeth. This is why both of these are so popular when you need to have a single tooth restored within your mouth.

However, your best option here is still a crown if you have a large area of decay that a filling or an inlay won't cover because there's too much of your tooth's structure that must be removed. Inlays and onlays are a bit less expensive. However, if you depend on insurance to cover their costs, then their price shouldn't matter much to you.

The Placement Procedure


Both the inlay and the onlay procedures are quite simple, but they do consist of two appointments. This is because impressions are made of your teeth, then sent to a lab where these are made. You'll then return to our office for a second appointment, at which time we'll cement them in your mouth.

Understanding Their Lifespand


Once you have an inlay or an onlay in place, you'll enjoy the fact that your decayed or damaged tooth has now been restored to its original condition and that it's also much stronger than before. You can rest in this assurance for 5-7 years.

Conversely, crowns will typically last 10-15 years while amalgam fillings will only last about 12 years. We understand how this can be quite confusing for you, so whether you're interested in inlays and onlays or another dental procedure, make sure you reach out to us at Riverstone Family Dentistry at (360) 326-1443.

We look forward to setting up a time to sit down and discuss what procedure is right for you.
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