Dental Inlays

Dental Inlay While most people are primarily concerned with restoring the teeth located in the front of their mouths since those are the ones seen the most, it’s also important to attend to the restoration of those teeth that are located in the rear of the mouth. While the molars aren’t as visible as the other teeth, they are definitely important, perhaps even more so than the teeth located in the front, especially when it comes to function since they are the ones that are used the most to chew food. Just like your other teeth are subject to decaying and breaking down, so are they. Fortunately, there are dental procedures out there designed to restore the look and function of molars too, though.

What Are Dental Inlays?
Dental inlays are among the most common types of restorative solutions for the premolars and molars. They are comprised of the same types of materials as crowns and fillings. However, they serve as the happy medium between and crown and a filling. They are most often used when the decayed portion of a tooth is too big for a filling and yet not quite big enough to warrant a crown. As its name implies, the inlay is laid within the tooth to fill it up and restore it to its former shape and function, effectively closing up the hole in the tooth and protecting it from further damage. They help preserve more of the tooth’s natural structure than a crown does, and they also provide a more permanent solution than fillings, which are more susceptible to falling out. Additionally, they supposedly help strengthen and reinforce the tooth while preserving the life span of the natural tooth into which they’re laid.

How Are Dental Inlays Placed?
The process to get dental inlays placed usually requires two visits to the dentist. Unlike fillings, they are not placed the same day, and part of this is because they are custom made to fit the hole in your tooth. Instead, the dentist must take an impression of the tooth to be inlaid, and during that same visit, the dentist will also prepare the tooth for the inlay. This usually consist of buffing and shaping the tooth. Between the time between the first and second visit to the dental office, the dental inlay itself is fashioned after the patient’s impression. They are usually crafted of a composite resin, porcelain, gold or other metals. Once the inlay is made and sent from the lab to the dentist, then the patient is called back into the office for the dentist to place the inlay within the patient’s tooth. The inlay is placed much in the same manner that a filling is, and then it’s sealed, also like a filling.

After getting a dental inlay placed, it’s normal for the tooth into which the inlay was placed to feel a bit strange for a while. You might experience a sensation of tightness and discomfort where the inlay is affixed inside the tooth, and the tissue around the tooth might also feel sensitive or sore for a few days, but those symptoms should subside within a week, usually less. For those people who are more susceptible to pain than others, over-the-counter pain medication can be taken to address any pain symptoms and discomfort that you feel as a result of having the inlay placed, although most patients don’t feel the need to take any medication for the slight pain and pressure associated with an inlay.

Dental Inlays Versus Dental Onlays
Dental Inlay Versus Onlay In addition to inlays, there are also dental onlays. While both dental inlays and onlays are projected to last 30 years with proper care and maintenance, the different between the two lies within how they are bonded to the tooth. While dental inlays are laid within the center of the tooth, dental onlays are bonded to the surface of the tooth, hence one is “in” the tooth while the other is “on” the tooth.

DentaGama. “What is the difference between inlay, onlay, overlay and pinlay?” Retrieved on January 19, 2016, from

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Consumer Guide to Dentistry. “Inlays and Onlays.” Retrieved on January 19, 2016, from

Consumer Guide to Dentistry
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