Fillings are a great alternative for people with very mild tooth damage, such as a shallow cavity or a slight chip. On the other end of the scale, some people deal with teeth that are almost completely demolished. That could be because of trauma or extensive neglect. In these cases, Dr. Stone usually recommends a crown or another similar procedure.
But what if your mouth is somewhere in the middle? What if the damage is too significant for a simple filling yet not serious enough to warrant a crown? A large filling may damage the tooth even further, and a more radical procedure may unnecessarily erode healthy tooth mass. In cases like these, dental inlays are probably the right alternative.
What They Are and How They Work
Fillings are an example of direct prosthodontics. The dentist examines the hole in the tooth, fashions a filling there on the spot, and corrects the problem. Inlays are an indirect prosthodontic procedure. Dr. Stone performs the examination. Then, a lab custom crafts the dental inlay, which goes onto the tooth at a subsequent appointment.
Various materials are available. Gold is usually best for molars, since appearance is not an issue and strength is about all that matters. Since it’s much more natural-looking and almost as strong, porcelain is usually best for incisors and canines. Dr. Stone also uses composite materials in some cases, especially for teeth-grinding patients.
During your visit, you may hear Dr. Stone or a hygienist talk about “dental inlays” and “dental onlays.” These two things are basically the same. Inlays fill the space between the teeth or between a tooth’s cusps. As the name implies, onlays cover the entire surface of the tooth. They are used in more extreme cases.
Some Pros and Cons About Dental Inlays in Ft. Lauderdale
After that initial appointment and while the lab prepares your inlay, Dr. Stone often fits a temporary crown or filling to prevent further damage. Once the procedure is complete, there are a lot of plusses and very few drawbacks. Some of the advantages include:
- Conservative Treatment: Two of the fundamental prosthodontic rules are to preserve as much of the tooth as possible and use the least invasive method possible. Dental inlays accomplish both these objectives.
- Better Fit: Fillings sometimes shrink as they are cured. That never happens to dental inlays, so the fit is precise today and it will remain that way for years to come.
- Superior to Fillings: Dental inlays do not stain, are easy to clean, provide a firm seal against bacteria, and are extremely long-lasting.
Dental inlays take longer to fit and cost more than fillings, but these investments usually pay big dividends.
Not all tooth damage fits neatly into categories like fillings or crowns. Dental inlays are an excellent “in-between” treatment for such occasions. To see how Dr. John Stone can improve your oral health as well as your smile, contact Best Dental Associates today.