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Inlays and Onlays


Inlays and Onlays at Mid Valley Dental, in Menasha, WICavities are pits that form in the surfaces of your teeth as the result of tooth decay, and they are one of the most common dental issues affecting children and adults of all ages. Decay occurs when acids from plaque and bacteria erode your tooth enamel, leading to weak spots. Without treatment, these weak spots eventually form into cavities. Typically, cavities can be treated with fillings. Cavities on the chewing surfaces of your molars, however, can be more difficult. Mid Valley Dental can treat these cavities with inlays and onlays.

The Typical Cavity Treatment


Cavities are typically treated with fillings. There are two types, amalgam, and composite resin. Amalgam fillings consist of a mixture of metals that are suspended in mercury. These metals include tin, copper, silver, and nickel. Amalgam is known for its incredible strength. Composite resin fillings consist of a mixture of plastic, fine glass, and other materials. It is tooth colored and blends in with the color of your natural teeth.

What are Inlays and Onlays?


While amalgam and composite fillings do have their place, they are not always ideal. They can further compromise the health of teeth when used to treat cavities in the chewing surfaces of your molars. The bite pressure exerted on these teeth is much stronger. Amalgam fillings can be driven into the tooth, causing it to fracture or even completely split. Composite resin fillings are not made to stand up to the pressures exerted on these teeth and can wear out faster or even shatter under pressure.

Inlays and onlays are an alternative to traditional fillings, allowing us to treat cavities in the chewing surfaces of your molars. Inlays treat cavities in the crevices between the cusps. Onlays treat cavities that affect the cusps and are sometimes called partial crowns. They are what is known as indirect fillings. This means that they are designed and created in a lab, rather than cured inside of the tooth. They can be made from many different materials, with the most popular one being porcelain.

Benefits of Inlays and Onlays


There are many benefits that come with inlays and onlays. These benefits include:
•  Strengthening the tooth. They are specifically designed for cavities on the chewing surfaces of your molars and can withstand the pressures of bite forces they receive. They will not compromise the teeth like an amalgam or composite filling.
•  Preserving more of your natural tooth structure. We do not need to drill away as much of your tooth as we would with amalgam or even composite fillings.
•  Affordability. Inlays and onlays are more affordable than crowns. They are also much less invasive.

The Process of Placing Inlays and Onlays


The process for getting inlays and onlays typically requires two visits. At your first appointment, we first clean the tooth and drill away the decay. This is done under a local anesthetic. After drilling away the decay, we take an impression of your tooth. This impression is used to design and create your indirect restoration. Once complete, you have your second appointment, At this appointment, your restoration is checked for fit and to ensure a natural bite. If no adjustments are necessary, the restoration is bonded into place inside the cavity.

If you suspect a cavity, it is important that you get treatment right away. For more information on inlays and onlays, and to schedule your appointment, call Mid Valley Dental at (920) 215-4160 today.
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