If you have a decayed tooth in need of repair, a dental inlay is one of several restoration options available. Many people are not familiar with inlays and may confuse them with fillings. The confusion is understandable as both inlays and fillings restore a tooth that is damaged due to decay. However, each is appropriate…
When Are Dental Inlays Recommended?
Dental inlays might be the right option to treat tooth decay and other damage to your teeth. Leaving these types of issues untreated can be painful and cause more serious problems. Multiple options are available to relieve these conditions, but inlays might be the most effective solution. Your dentist will help you decide which one makes the most sense for your needs.
An overview of dental inlays
Inlays are pre-molded fillings that the dentist will place inside the tooth to treat cavities and other conditions. The inlay will not extend over the cusps of the tooth but fits into the grooves. Because the dentist will make the inlay outside of the tooth, it can be the right size and shape. Inlays are made of porcelain, ceramic, or composite resin, so they are the same color as the surrounding tooth. To place it, the dentist will numb the patient and then drill into the tooth. The dentist then removes the decay and then places the inlay.
For smaller cavities
Cavities are small holes that form on the surface of a tooth. Poor brushing can cause them to form. When cavities have not progressed to the cusps of the tooth and are not deep enough to require a root canal, dental inlays can be the right solution. The inlay will fill the hole and prevent further decay from entering in.
For minor cracks and chips
Dental inlays can also be good candidates for injuries to the tooth. Cracks, chips, and fractures can occur due to trauma or poor oral health. When there is small damage, the dentist could first recommend an inlay to repair it. The dentist will first verify that the injury does not affect the cusps of the tooth.
The patient wants a less invasive procedure
One of the advantages of dental inlays is that this treatment does not require the removal of much of the natural tooth. This is not the case with other restorations such as fillings or crowns. With a crown, the dentist must reshape the tooth so it will fit. Inlays do not require extensive tooth removal. Still, the inlay should be strong enough to support the weakened or damaged tooth.
For the longer life of a tooth
Teeth are meant to last a lifetime. When decay, infections, or injuries damage a tooth, dental inlays can restore them. The material the dentist uses to make an inlay can last for 10 years or more. The longevity and life span of this treatment will depend on how well the patient takes care of it. While it is intact, the inlay allows the patient to eat most foods and have a natural smile.
Make the right choice to restore your tooth
A cavity or injury to your tooth can be painful and invite further oral health problems. You should address these issues promptly by calling your dentist. The dentist will examine you, take X-rays, and make impressions of the mouth. From here, you can discuss which treatment makes the most sense.
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