What are porcelain inlays and onlays?
Porcelain inlays and onlays are custom-made porcelain fillings. Old-fashioned metal fillings look unsightly and gradually weaken a tooth. In fact, research shows metal fillings contribute to tooth fractures. Inlays and onlays are permanently bonded to the tooth for added strength and a virtually undetectable restoration.
What are contemporary inlays and onlays made from?
Today's dental inlays and onlays are created from specially formulated, highly durable dental porcelain. Our dentists will use a shade of porcelain to match your natural tooth color, texture, and luminescence.
Dental porcelain reacts to light in the same way that tooth enamel does – partly absorbing it and partly reflecting it. This gives it the same pearly look as teeth have, making it invisible as a dental restoration.
What are the benefits of porcelain inlays and onlays?
Unlike metal fillings, which can cause further damage to the tooth’s structure over time, inlays and onlays strengthen and improve tooth structure. Being bonded to the tooth, they become a part of that tooth and provide a stable, long-lasting, attractive solution for correcting tooth decay.
Why are metal fillings damaging to tooth structure?
Old-fashioned metal fillings are not bonded to the tooth like inlays and onlays. Metal fillings stay in the tooth only because they are tightly packed into the cavity, putting outward pressure on the tooth’s periphery. Also, when hot or cold foods are consumed, they expand and contract in response to temperature changes. This repeatedly changes the pressure on the tooth, weakening surrounding tooth structure and eventually breaking it.
Porcelain fillings do not disturb healthy tooth structure, and because they are bonded to the tooth, they will not weaken or crack it over time.
How long does the procedure take?
Placing your inlays and onlays requires two brief, comfortable office visits. During your first visit, the old filling and decay are removed. Our dentists will then take a precise impression of the tooth and send it to the dental laboratory along with other relevant data and photographs. Your inlay or onlay is custom-crafted for a perfect fit.
While waiting for the restoration to return from the lab, a temporary restoration is placed on the tooth. During your second visit, the inlay or onlay is bonded securely and permanently to the tooth.
Am I a good candidate for an inlay or onlay?
If you have new cavities or old metal fillings that need to be replaced, inlays and onlays are a durable, natural looking alternative that preserve remaining tooth structure.
To learn more about porcelain inlays or onlays and our advanced tooth repair procedures, please call 563-556-2711 or email Exceptional Dentistry today for service in Dubuque, Cedar Rapids and Davenport, Iowa, as well as Galena, Illinois. We will be happy to schedule a free cosmetic dentistry consultation for you.