Inlays and onlays treatment in Greenwood: Process preserves oral health and natural tooth structure
Advanced dentistry allows Christopher T. Griffin, D.M.D. to restore and preserve optimal oral health should teeth be injured as the result of disease, decay, or other trauma. While restorations are tailored to your needs and preferences, generally, Dr. Griffin and his team take great care to retain as much natural tooth structure as possible when rebuilding damaged teeth. This is known as “conservative dentistry,” and the inlays and onlays treatment process in Greenwood, South Carolina at Dr. Griffin’s office falls into this category. Procedures that preserve a maximum amount of healthy tooth structure are largely known to be:
- Minimally invasive
- Natural looking, feeling, and functioning
- Low-risk; promote fast and healthy healing
Bonding or fillings are direct restorations. The dental material is shaped and cemented directly to the prepared tooth structure. Inlays and onlays are a type of indirect restoration. Like veneers, crowns and bridges, inlays and onlays are made in a lab. This new tooth structure is later applied and bonded to the prepared, natural tooth structure. As a conservative approach, inlays and onlays provide an alternative to full-coverage crowns.
The dental material is shaped to the prepared tooth. It is designed to fit over the entire tooth, similarly to how crowns snugly cover royals’ heads. The amount of dental material required is directly associated with the amount of damage or each patient’s needs for restorative treatment; in the case of a full-coverage crown, a patient’s needs for treatment may be extensive. These crowns often follow root canal therapy, which resolves infection in the innermost part of the tooth or pulp. Since more natural tooth structure is damaged due to decay or disease, a larger amount of dental material provides the structure to the tooth that allows for lasting health and durability.
The damage to your tooth may not be extensive enough to require a full-coverage crown. So, why get something that you don’t need? Especially when that “something” requires a greater reduction of tooth structure to accommodate the size of the crown that fits over the tooth? Dr. Griffin and his team don’t believe in altering healthy tooth structure unnecessarily. If a significant amount of healthy tooth structure remains, he may recommend an inlay or onlay.
Conservative inlays and onlays treatment process in Greenwood
All restorations start with Dr. Griffin examining your mouth and discussing your needs and preferences with you. If it’s determined that you are good candidate for either an inlay or an onlay, he will explore with you the many options for materials to rebuild your tooth. Since every patient is different, Christopher T. Griffin, D.M.D. doesn’t limit your choices to a few materials. Restorations may be made with:
- Composite resin – a mix of plastic and powdered glass
- Amalgam – a mix of metals
- Gold foil
- Ceramics such as porcelain
Typically, inlays and onlays are fabricated using strong, stain-resistant porcelain or cast gold. Lab technicians use digital or standard impressions of your mouth as a guide when making indirect restorations. The tooth to be treated is prepared or shaped to “accept” the restoration (for a perfect fit!). Preparation also involves ensuring that your mouth is healthy and free of active inflammation or infection. Routine check-ups help Dr. Griffin keep your mouth healthy by detecting early-stage disease or decay that generally requires less invasive procedures; for instance, a simple filling or even professional cleaning and appropriate home care may suffice in the event of early enamel erosion.
What to expect
The inlay procedure is different from the onlay procedure, because there are slight differences between these conservative alternatives to crowns. Inlays are designed to fit between the cusps on the grooved surfaces of the tooth. Onlays fit in-between the cusps and on the pitted surfaces; however, they cover at least one cusp. Since onlays are a fuller coverage option to treat more extensive damage, they are considered more conservative than full crowns and are known as “partial crowns.”
Dr. Griffin will place provisional or temporary inlays and onlays to protect the prepared tooth while you wait for the permanent restoration to be made in the lab. After the permanent restoration is sent to our office, you’ll return so Dr. Griffin can remove the interim inlay or onlay and check the fit of the permanent one. If all looks and feels good, he will bond your beautiful, strong new tooth structure. Enjoy!
There are so many restorative options for today’s patients. Call (864) 229-2610 to schedule your appointment at Christopher T. Griffin, D.M.D. in Greenwood.Back to Inlays and Onlays Page