Inlays are used to treat cavities. Unlike a traditional filling, a dental inlay is a separate piece that is custom made for the tooth. Made of composite resin, gold or porcelain, inlays are more durable than traditional fillings and blend in naturally with your existing teeth.
Why might you need dental inlay?
Dental cavities are a common problem. Even if you practise good dental hygiene, it’s still possible to develop them. In most cases, these can be repaired using traditional fillings. However, if the decay has spread too far into the tooth, it may be necessary to use a dental inlay.
Inlays work best when the existing tooth is still intact. If you have fractures or significant damage to your tooth, you may need to be fitted with a crown instead.
Many patients also choose to replace their traditional amalgam fillings with inlays as these have a more natural appearance.
What is a dental inlay?
An inlay falls somewhere between a filling and a crown and are most often used on your back teeth. An inlay is a solid piece of resin (or sometimes gold or porcelain) that is custom made and then bonded to the tooth. Because they are made especially for your individual tooth, inlays are more precise than normal fillings. They are also incredibly durable and can last up to 30 years.
What is the difference between a dental inlay and a filling?
When you get a filling, you will only need one appointment; your dentist will remove the decayed part of the tooth and fill it with porcelain or metal. However, fillings will decay over time and eventually need replacing. A dental inlay is a more involved procedure that will require two trips to the dentist. At the first appointment, your dentist will take an impression of your tooth and send it to a dental lab who will create the inlay, which will be fitted at a second appointment. Although they are more expensive and time consuming than a filling, inlays are a lot stronger than fillings which is why they last for such a long time.
What is the difference between a dental inlay and a crown?
A dental crown covers the entire tooth. Getting a crown fitted is an invasive procedure that involves the partial removal of the tooth. An inlay, on the other hand, is a much simpler dental repair that allows you to preserve the existing tooth underneath.
What is the dental inlay treatment process?
Getting an inlay fitted will usually require two appointments. During the first appointment, the dentist will take an impression of your tooth and use it to create a solid piece that fits seamlessly on top. This will be colour-matched to blend in with your existing teeth.
The dentist will clean out any decaying matter from the cavity and put in a temporary filling to protect the tooth from further damage.
Once the inlay is ready, the dentist will fix it to the tooth using dental glue. This creates a solid and durable tooth that should last for decades.
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