Inlays & Onlays: Helping You Smile With Confidence!
A dazzling smile can ignite a room. It projects strength, confidence, and beauty.
For decades dentists have worked on ways to treat dental problems, and while esthetics were a concern, they didn’t always reach what we would consider beautiful. Restorations were primarily functional. But now, with the amazing advancements in dentistry and the art and science of restorations and the new materials available, we can provide absolutely beautiful esthetics as well as change the way your teeth look, the way they function, and the way they feel – which means the way you feel!
Because your mouth is one of the focal points of your face, it plays a major role in how you perceive yourself and how others perceive you.
- Smiling is a universal way to communicate a full range of emotions.
- Smiles are cross-cultural – they mean the same thing no matter what language we speak or from which culture we come. It’s the most easily recognized facial expression.
- The average adult smiles upwards of 20 times a day (although we suspect that statistic is actually low). The average child smiles upwards of 400 times a day.
- Studies show that it’s hard to frown when someone is smiling at you. Could smiles be contagious? 😉
- Smiling, even when we don’t feel like it, releases feel-good endorphins… Even a “fake smile” can improve our mood.
- Smiling reduces stress.
- Smiling can even lower blood pressure.
- Smiles come in 19 different shapes and sizes and fall into one of two categories: “social smiles,” which use fewer muscles and “felt smiles,” which use more muscles.
Nowadays, we’re surprised when a big-screen star, politician, or anyone in the public eye laughs with abandon and we catch a flash of a silver-colored amalgam filling. Have you ever caught yourself not laughing out loud because you, too, have amalgams? Have you ever caught yourself covering your smile?
More and more, it’s so unusual to see silver-colored amalgam because advances in dental technology are making silver-mouth such a vision of the past. And this is not just for all those red-carpet stars and famous people out there, but for all of us “real” people.
So what can you do to brighten your smile? One of the most popular ways is to replace the amalgam when it has become old and worn, compromised, or no longer fulfills its purpose. The natural-looking alternatives to silver-colored fillings not only look great, they also strengthen teeth. Two options that you may not have heard about yet are called “inlays” and “onlays.” They’re both made of tooth-colored material that is virtually invisible to the casual eye. Let’s get to the simple definitions…
Inlays & Onlays – Both an inlay and an onlay are tooth restorations for premolars (the two teeth right behind your canine or eye teeth) and molars (that are in the back of your mouth) that have been damaged by tooth decay.
Each inlay or onlay is one solid piece that is fabricated in the exact shape and size of the cavity that is left once tooth decay is cleaned away. They are used when we need to restore a tooth when there is too much damage to support a direct filling (composite, silver-colored amalgam, etc.) but not enough trauma to require a full porcelain crown.
- Inlay – As above, but it fits into the biting surface between the cusps of the tooth.
- Onlay – As above, but it covers one or more cusps of the tooth.
Bonus… Unlike silver-colored fillings, preparing for inlays and onlays does not require the removal of large amounts of healthy tooth – we only must remove the damaged or decayed part of the tooth.
All inlays and onlays are custom-made for your tooth. To make them, we take an impression of your prepared tooth, which is then sent to a lab. Our skillful dental technologists (who, by the way, are skilled in creating many dental devices and appliances such as crowns, bridges, dentures, implant crowns, ortho appliances, and more) then create your restoration. In the meantime, we place a temporary filling in your tooth to support it until your inlay or onlay is ready to be placed permanently.