When more than 66% of the tooth’s biting surface is damaged a dentist will often use inlays/onlays to restore it. These require two appointments to complete the procedure. During the first visit, the filling being replaced or the damaged or decaying area of the tooth is removed and the tooth is prepared for the inlay or onlay. To ensure proper fit and bite, an impression of the tooth is made by the dentist and sent to a lab for fabrication. The dentist will then apply a temporary sealant on the tooth and a subsequent appointment will be scheduled.
At the second appointment, the temporary sealant is removed. Dr. Luperon will then make sure that the inlay/onlay fits correctly. If the fit is satisfactory, the inlay/onlay will be bonded to the tooth with a strong resin and polished for a smooth finish.
Traditional fillings can reduce the strength of a natural tooth by up to 50% . As an alternative, inlays/onlays that are bonded directly onto the tooth using special high-strength resins, can actually increase the strength of a tooth by up to 75%. In some cases, where the damage to the tooth is not extensive enough to merit an entire crown, onlays can provide a very good alternative.
By Bolivar Luperon