However, direct fillings are not always the best option.
When these types of fillings will cause more harm than good, an indirect filling - inlays or onlays - are considered. But how do you know which one you need?
How are Indirect Fillings Different?A direct filling is done by filling the cavity with material, usually dental amalgam or composite resin. These fillings require a significant amount of drilling in order for the material to stay properly. Indirect fillings, on the other hand, are created in the lab.
After your cavity is drilled (less is required), molds of your tooth are taken and sent off. When ready, you have a custom fit filling that is cemented in place. The result is a stronger filling that is better for the health of your tooth.
What are They Made Of?
Inlays and onlays can be made from a few different materials:
|•||Gold (rarely used).|
|•||Porcelain. This is the most frequently used material. It matches the color of your teeth, unlike gold, and is stronger than composite resin.|
InlaysInlays are usually used to repair the chewing surface of your tooth, where one cusp is affected. They can also be used in place of traditional fillings elsewhere on your teeth.
Less drilling is required, which allows you to keep more of your natural tooth structure. In essence, inlays are often used for smaller cavities.
OnlaysOnlays, on the other hand, are used to repair, and build up your tooth when more than one cusp is affected. They can protect your tooth from the damage of a large filling (which could cause your tooth to split apart) and are a more conservative, and affordable, fix than a dental crown.
Inlays and onlays are a wonderful alternative to a traditional filling and a much more conservative fix than a crown. Contact our office to learn which one is right for you.