Are you looking for a filling that doesn’t just have the same color as teeth, but also their strength and bright, shiny luster? Inlays and onlays are tooth-colored fillings that are made from advanced ceramics, so they can be as strong and beautiful as natural tooth material.
Benefits of Inlays and Onlays
Inlays and onlays are often considered to be the best fillings available. That’s because they:
- Are the most like tooth enamel in appearance
- Resist stains
- Can restore strength to damaged teeth
- Preserve tooth material over crowns
- Resist wear from biting and chewing
- Create a tight seal with your natural teeth
Inlays and onlays are made of advanced ceramics that look just like natural tooth material. They aren’t just tooth-colored, they are translucent and lustrous like tooth enamel. Plus, they resist stains, so they can remain bright and attractive for decades.
Decay weakens teeth. Most fillings don’t restore strength to damaged teeth, but inlays and onlays can. Their strength also means that they can resist wear from biting and chewing.
Meanwhile, they don’t require that we remove as much tooth material as dental crowns do. That’s important–your tooth enamel is irreplaceable.
Plus, inlays and onlays create a tight seal with your natural teeth to prevent decay around the edges of the filling.
Limitations of Inlays and Onlays
However, this type of filling isn’t right for everyone. People might not choose inlays or onlays because they:
- Are expensive
- Require more than one visit
- Require more drilling
Inlays and onlays cost a lot more than the normal tooth-colored filling. They might be worth it because of their appearance and durability, but you have to decide for yourself.
The convenience of normal tooth-colored fillings also makes them popular. Just come in for a short visit and get your fillings complete. But with inlays, you get your teeth prepared, then impressions are sent to a lab where your fillings are made. You wear temporary fillings and have to come in for a second visit to get your permanent fillings placed.
And inlays and onlays can’t be placed in the same small cavities that normal fillings can. For placing inlays and onlays, we need to start with a larger cavity and drill more.
One of the biggest benefits of dental bonding is that it can be completed in one visit. You come in, we apply the bonding,cure it, and you’re done. This may take as little as half an hour–very fast!
Bonding is also inexpensive, a fraction of the cost of ceramic restorations.
While veneers and crowns require removing a substantial amount of tooth material to make room, bonding can be applied with just a little bit of roughening of the surface. This makes it the perfect cosmetic dentistry choice for people with dental anxiety, although sedation dentistry can also help.
Because bonding doesn’t require us to change your teeth, it’s also largely reversible. Don’t like the look, and we can remove the bonding, polish your teeth, and you’re back to where you started. This makes it a great way to “try out” cosmetic dentistry before investing in something more expensive like veneers.
And, of course, dental bonding delivers very attractive initial results. With polishing, bonding looks very much like natural tooth enamel.