Inlays and Onlays

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Northwest couple hiking with no worries for their inlay and onlay dental work

Beautiful restorations are an important part of retaining and preserving your natural smile. We work closely with you to preserve your natural smile by creating a dental plan that includes regular exams, routine cleanings, and, if desired, restorations. At Creekside Dental, your Vancouver dentist Dr. David Hanson recommends dental inlays and onlays as the preferred type of restoration when your tooth is too damaged for a filling but not damaged enough for a crown (otherwise known as a dental cap or tooth cap).

When Do You Need a Dental Inlay or Onlay?

Dental inlay and onlay compared to a crown

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Damage to a tooth that is too severe to support a filling but not severe enough to require a dental cap calls for a dental inlay or onlay. Using a filling when a dental inlay is needed results in the continued decay of the remaining tooth, which eventually leads to the need for a root canal. Receiving a tooth cap or crown when one is not called for results in the unnecessary removal of healthy tooth structure.

Dental Inlays

Dental inlays are similar to fillings and fit inside the outer edges of the tooth. They can be made out of a variety of materials, but most often they’re made out of tooth-colored porcelain. The inlay procedure requires approximately two visits with Vancouver dentist Dr. Hanson. During the first appointment, you receive a tooth-decay treatment; then impressions are taken and the temporary inlay is applied to the tooth. At the second appointment, the permanent inlay is bonded to the tooth, hiding any signs of imperfection.

Dental Onlays

Dental onlays, sometimes referred to as partial tooth caps, are similar to inlays in that the procedure is the same and takes place over the course of two days. Like a dental cap, it is a custom-made fitting that we secure to the damaged tooth; however, unlike a dental cap, it only covers a small portion of the affected tooth. Onlays cover one or more of the outer edges of a tooth. They are the conservative alternative to receiving a crown or tooth cap, and they preserve more of your natural tooth.

FAQ

Do inlays and onlays fix cavities?
Dr. Hanson uses inlays and onlays, much like fillings, to fill or cover the area where a cavity once was. It minimizes the possibility of further decay to the existing tooth.
What are the most common treatments for tooth decay?
The most common tooth decay treatments that Dr. Hanson uses include:

  • Fluoride treatments
  • Restorations, including fillings, inlays, onlays, and crowns/tooth caps
  • Root canals
  • In the most extreme cases, extraction
Inlays and onlays may be used for cosmetic enhancement, to restore broken or decayed teeth, or to replace a damaged filling. To find out more about inlays or onlays, call (360) 980-8486 or use our online form today to set up an appointment. We look forward to helping you restore your healthy smile.