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A filling is what the dentist uses to fill the holes in your teeth made by minor tooth decay. They can be made from porcelain, silver amalgam, gold, or composite resin materials. But when the damage to the tooth is more serious, an inlay or onlay may be what is needed.

If you are a candidate for treatment using an inlay or onlay, that means that the decay is enough to be more serious than what is normal for a simple filling, but less serious than what would require a full crown restoration. Inlays and onlays are intermediate measures used when a tooth has moderate decay or is cracked or fractured but can still be fortified without completely covering it with a crown—preserving the tooth’s original structure.

Oftentimes, a previous filling is compromised and requires removal. In these cases, dental inlays and onlays may be used to restore the tooth. A dental inlay is a pre-molded filling fitted into the grooves of a tooth and does not extend over the cusps of tooth. Dental onlays are used when the damage has affected the cusp or tips of the tooth, and/or potentially the biting surface.

It takes two appointments to bond an inlay or onlay onto damaged teeth. At your initial visit, under local anesthesia, the dentist will clean out the affected area and take an impression of the tooth. This is then sent to a dental laboratory where the new inlay or onlay is molded from porcelain, gold or a composite resin material. Once received by our dentist, at your second appointment, she will cement it into place.

If you would like to speak to our dentist about dental fillings, onlays or inlays, call Dr. Wendy Haefner and our helpful team at iSmile Mathis Ferry Dentistry. Phone: 843-884-1215, or come by our office in Mount Pleasant, SC.