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Female patient of Dr. Julie Phillips Prosthodontics in Greensboro, NC with perfect teeth

Inlays & Onlays
Greensboro, NC


Sometimes, you may not know you have a cavity until it is too late. Once your cavity grows big, a simple filling may not be able to restore your tooth. In this case, Dr. Julie Phillips Prosthodontics can fix your tooth with an inlay or an onlay.

What is an Inlay?


An inlay is a kind of indirect filling that has been custom-made in a lab to cover the pits and fissures of your teeth, especially the molars. Inlays are used when a cavity is too large for a filling to restore it but too small to require an anterior crown.
When placing an inlay on your tooth, Julie A. Phillips, DDS, MS will clean out the decayed part of your tooth and will take an impression of the prepared tooth. Thereafter, the mold will be sent to a dental lab so that the inlay can be fabricated.
Once the inlay has been made, you will be called for another appointment and the inlay will be fitted into the prepared cavity and bonded tightly to the tooth.
Inlays are generally stronger and more durable than regular fillings.

What is an Onlay?


An onlay is the similar to an inlay but it expands to the cusps of the tooth and is used to restore even bigger cavities.
The creation of inlays is the same an onlay. Typically, onlays are made of high-grade porcelain, though in the past, they were only made of gold.
Onlays can bond very strongly to your tooth, increasing their strength and preventing further damage to them. However, it is very difficult for the patient themselves to gauge whether they need a filling, inlay, onlay, or a crown. To determine it, you will need to have a dental exam done by Julie A. Phillips, DDS, MS.

Differences Between Inlays and Fillings


Inlays and fillings are distinguished by a few things. The major difference is that inlays are indirect fillings, which means their material cannot be applied directly to the tooth. Instead, they need to be molded in a dental lab in the exact shape of the prepared cavity of the tooth. The fit needs to be perfect so that there is no risk of bacteria reinfecting the tooth.
Additionally, inlays are used to fix cavities that are a bit larger in size.
Inlays are also only made of ceramic, and in some cases, gold, but fillings can be made with composite resin and silver amalgam material as well.

Differences Between Onlays and Crowns


Onlays and crowns are both made to custom-fit a tooth and both of them focus on moderate to major dental decay or damage.
However, crowns are made in the shape of a natural tooth and cover the entire tooth above the gumline, while onlays are made in the shape of the cavity and covers only the affected part of the tooth, including the fissures and the cusps.
Onlays are used when the level of tooth damage does not warrant shaving down the natural tooth structure to support a crown.

Benefits of Inlays and Onlays Over Direct Fillings


Inlays and onlays have several benefits over direct fillings:
•  Inlays and onlays are stronger and more durable than direct fillings.
•  They can last for much longer than dental fillings, up to 30 years with proper care.
•  Inlays and onlays can strengthen and stabilize your tooth by 70 percent.
•  Inlays and onlays are custom-fitted so there is an extremely low risk of bacteria leaking back into the tooth.
•  These indirect fillings prevent costly treatments in the future.

If you have developed a cavity, get an appointment with us by calling us today at 336-274-5400 so that we can check whether an inlay & onlay or other cosmetic dental treatment is right for you.

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