Las Vegas Dentist Serving Summerlin, Spring Valley And Nearby Nevada Locations
For more than 150 years, metal or amalgam fillings were the standard way of addressing cavities. While they are functional, there have been virtually no advances in metal fillings since their inception. And, there is some evidence that the mercury contained in them is dangerous to your health.
Today, if you need a filling, there are more choices. Dr. Paez offers his Las Vegas patients white fillings and pearly-white porcelain fillings. Learn more by calling Nevada Dental Esthetics at 702-737-3553 today for a free consultation.
Types Of Porcelain Fillings
Whereas metal fillings are compressed into the cavity tightly enough to keep them from falling out, porcelain fillings are bonded to the tooth and become part of it. There are two types of porcelain fillings: inlays and onlays.
Inlays are smaller and contained within the cusps of the tooth. Onlays are done for larger areas of decay and extend over to the outside surface of the tooth.
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Advantages Of Inlays And Onlays Over Metal Fillings
- Unlike metal fillings that are highly visible, porcelain fillings are color-matched to your natural tooth so they’re hardly noticeable. Both inlays and onlays will join invisibly with your natural tooth enamel and look like part of your tooth.
- With inlays and onlays, more of the natural tooth can be preserved. Metal fillings require more tooth tissue to be drilled out, even if it isn’t decayed, so that the space will be a good shape to hold the metal filling. Porcelain bonds directly to the tooth and doesn’t require as much of the natural tooth to be removed
- Metals fillings weaken the tooth because they expand and contract with the temperature of things in your mouth. Porcelain fillings strengthen the tooth, because they’re bonded to it and hold it together.
The Inlay/Onlay Procedure
Porcelain fillings typically take two visits:
- The damaged or decayed area is removed and an impression, or mold, is taken of the tooth. The mold is sent off to one of the best dental labs in the country, which will custom-make the onlay or inlay from porcelain materials.
- Dr. Paez will bond the inlay or onlay onto the damaged tooth. While this procedure sounds simple, it requires great skill to do it correctly, so it’s important to have a cosmetic dentist who is experienced and skilled with porcelain fillings.
How Much Tooth Is Needed for an Onlay?
You need to have enough tooth structure left after any decay is removed to be able to support an onlay.
Onlays cover the biting surface of the tooth, including the edges and some of the outside surface. Onlays help to maintain the structural integrity of the tooth, because after the damage is removed they are bonded to the top of the tooth. This is why they may be a better choice than a restoration such as a crown, which requires not only the damaged portion but some of the tooth’s outer layers to be removed so the crown will fit properly, a process that can weaken the tooth structure.
When Would a Dentist Recommend an Inlay?
Inlays are recommended to treat decay that is in the center of your tooth instead of along the edges. They are used for cavities or when a tooth is weakened because of damage; an onlay or an inlay may be used because if a regular filling is used it might do more damage by cracking the tooth. Inlays are a good way to not only protect teeth from further damage and decay but to also strengthen them by improving their structural integrity.
Whether your dentist recommends an inlay or another type of restoration, it is important to follow this recommendation. Ignoring tooth decay can lead to even more serious (and painful) dental problems and can affect your quality of life.
How Long Do Inlays and Onlays Last?
Although it is difficult to predict how long a restoration will last, onlays and inlays are generally considered to be long-term solutions for tooth decay. They are very durable and strong and can last for 15 years or more, and they can last a lot longer than fillings and crowns do. Practicing good oral hygiene can help ensure that your inlays or onlays last for a long time.
How Do I Take Care of My Inlays and Onlays?
Immediately after getting your onlay or inlay, you will want to take a few special precautions so that you don’t have any complications or discomfort. Your teeth might be especially sensitive to hot or cold foods and beverages. You should stick to soft, easy to chew foods for the first 24 hours, and avoid foods that are sticky, hard, or chewy – you want to make sure that your restorations have enough time to properly adhere to your teeth.
Once your onlays or inlays have had time to bond to your teeth, they don’t require any special care! All you have to do is take care of your teeth as you usually do – brush at least twice a day, floss once a day, eat a healthy diet, stay away from sugary foods and beverages, and make sure to visit your dentist twice a year for a cleaning and a checkup. You should also make sure to avoid chewing on nonfood items, like pen caps or pencils, and other hard items, such as ice, which can damage teeth and your restorations.
Onlays - Before & After
Schedule An Appointment Today
If you need a new filling or have old metal fillings that need to be replaced and you live in the Las Vegas area, call 702-737-3553 or email Nevada Dental Esthetics today. We’ll be happy to schedule an appointment for your procedure. If you need more information first, we can schedule a free initial consultation with Dr. Paez.