Inlays and Onlays Can Repair Teeth Conservatively

If you have a severely damaged molar or one with a very large cavity, an inlay or onlay may be right for you. Matthew A. Turner D.D.S., P.C. provides durable, high-quality inlays and onlays for residents of Kansas City, MO, at his Blue Springs practice. These custom-made restorations are more conservative than crowns, but provide more support than dental fillings. At our practice, we proudly offer inlays and onlays made from the latest materials. Therefore, your restored tooth will be virtually identical to your original tooth.

Illustration of an inlay, an onlay, and a crown
Inlays and onlays are sometimes called partial crowns because they do a similar job, but require less removal of tooth structure.

Are You a Candidate for an Inlay or Onlay?

Inlays and onlays are designed for the back teeth. Unlike fillings, they are fabricated outside of our office by a dental laboratory. In this way, they are more like to a dental crown. However, instead of covering your whole tooth, your inlay or onlay will fit like a puzzle piece into your tooth. Dr. Turner will often recommend one of these restorations if you have a very large cavity on one of your molars. In other situations, you may benefit from an inlay or onlay if one of your back teeth is cracked or severely weakened.

Inlays and onlays are more conservative than crowns and require less alteration of your teeth.

Inlays and onlays are similar, but the right one for you will depend on the extent of your dental damage. An onlay is usually appropriate for a tooth with a very large cavity or a crack. This restoration will fully cover the top of your tooth, including the cusps. If your damage is not quite as severe, you may benefit from an inlay. This type of restoration will simply rest right in between the cusps of your tooth. Dr. Turner will take x-rays to determine your candidacy for an inlay or onlay. The images will also help him to decide which type is more appropriate for you.

Placing Inlays and Onlays

Before placing an inlay or onlay, Dr. Turner will numb your tooth and remove any decayed or damaged tissue. He will work carefully to minimize impact to the healthy parts of your tooth. After prepping your tooth, we will take digital scans to send to our dental lab. Then you will receive a temporary restoration to prevent sensitivity while you are waiting.

In most cases, it will take about two weeks for the lab to craft your inlay or onlay. When it is finished, you will have a second appointment. At this time, Dr. Turner will first lightly etch your tooth. This will not hurt or damage your tooth. Rather, it will simply roughen the surface area so that your restoration can bond more securely. Then, after he has checked the look and fit, Dr. Turner will cement your inlay or onlay permanently to your tooth.

Benefits of Inlays and Onlays

  • Once in place, your restoration can improve your dental function and eliminate the discomfort of a toothache. Though you may experience some slight sensitivity immediately after placement, you should be able to eat a full range of foods in just a few days.
  • Inlays and onlays are more conservative than crowns and require less alteration of your teeth.
  • Because they are smaller, inlays and onlays also cost less than crowns.
  • These restorations are stronger than fillings, and they can repair larger areas of damage.
  • Our lab uses the latest materials, including porcelain, zirconia, and IPS e.max®. Therefore, your inlay or onlay will be virtually identical to your tooth. It will also be incredibly strong and durable.

Contact Dr. Turner's Office

If you have a damaged molar, an inlay or onlay may be right for you. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Turner.

Dr. Turner and his team

Matthew A. Turner, D.D.S., P.C.

At the dental practice of Matthew A. Turner, D.D.S., P.C., serving Kansas City, MO, Dr. Turner and his team provide superior general, cosmetic, and restorative dental care. Dr. Turner is a member of several professional organizations, including:

  • The American Dental Association
  • The Missouri Dental Association
  • The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry
  • The Eastern Jackson County Dental Society

For more information on the services we provide, or to schedule an appointment, please contact us online or call (816) 229-1433.

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