Filling, Inlay, Onlay & Crown
Most of us at some point in our lives wind up with a cavity. This is an area of disease in the tooth that must be removed and the area filled with a hard material.
Significant advances in dental medicine over the past few years now enable us to offer options other than the silver or amalgam fillings that were used for decades. At Santa Teresa Dental we commonly use what are known as composite resin dental fillings.
Composite dental fillings were created as an alternative to traditional metal dental fillings and they are colored to look like the natural tooth. They are made of a plastic dental resin. They are strong, durable, and create a very natural looking healthy smile.
Inlays and Onlays
If a significant portion of a molar tooth (larger teeth at the back of the mouth) contains decay, an onlay may be the best option.
Onlays are recommended when more than half of the tooth’s biting surface is decayed. In such cases, the tooth has sustained too much damage to support a filling. However, the damage is not significant enough to warrant a full crown.
An onlay will cover one or more of the cusps – the biting surface of the tooth. An inlay is placed in between the cusps of the tooth – the rounded edges, at the center of the tooth’s surface.
Inlays and onlays can be made of a gold alloy, porcelain, or tooth-colored resin and are cemented into place.
There are many circumstances in which a crown is an ideal restorative option for a patient.
When the tooth’s root system is intact but a tooth is no longer structurally sound due to severe decay, a root canal, cracking of the enamel, or other trauma, a crown can serve as an excellent means of restoring the tooth.
Dental crowns cover the entire visible surface of the affected tooth and add strength, durability and tooth stability.
The procedure typically involves two visits. The first is to prepare the tooth for the crown. Impressions are taken and a temporary crown is placed in the mouth until the permanent crown is “seated” at the second visit.
Dental crowns are made from a variety of dental materials, including
- Metal (gold, nickel or chromium)
- Porcelain fused to metal
- All porcelain or all ceramic
- Resin (durable plastic)