After suffering from severe tooth decay or cavities, seeking medical attention from your dentist is recommended. He/she will provide treatment options to fill the gaps created by decay and sealing cavities to prevent the gradual deterioration of the teeth. Among the available treatment methods is using dental onlays and inlays to seal the infected areas on the tooth. You should note that these procedures are often sensitive, requiring an experienced dentist’s expertise. Therefore, you want to take your time and find a skilled professional who will provide impeccable dental services.

At Washington Dental, you will have access to some of the best dentists if you seek dental treatment in Carson, California. We have practiced in the dental field for many years, giving us an edge over other practitioners. Furthermore, our compassionate team is happy to give you the support and guidance you need before and after treatment.

The Importance of Procedures to Fix an Onlay or Inlay

Treatment using onlay and inlay fillings is beneficial for patients suffering from a range of tooth problems. Usually, fitting these fixtures involves closing gaps on the tooth crown created by cavities or tooth decay. Normally, the internal tooth structures, including the pulp and dentine, are exposed to infections from the development of cavities, exposing you to further risks. Thus, inlays and onlays will close the gap and prevent the possibility of subsequent conditions.

Compared to other forms of treatment offering the same remedy, onlays and inlays are innovative creations that allow dentists to provide the most appropriate treatment. Thanks to their design, inlay and onlay fixtures fit snugly on the affected area on the tooth to provide complete protection.

Their design flexibility comes as an improvement from previous treatment options like metallic fillings, where the metallic piece may be difficult to mold and fit perfectly on your tooth. On the other hand, several preparation processes will help your dentist replicate your tooth contours for an accurate design, as further discussed below.

onlays and inlays are also better alternatives than traditional tooth crowns used to remedy tooth decay conditions. Usually, an artificial crown will take up too much space when filling gaps created by cavities and decay. This would lead to extreme shaving of your natural tooth, especially if the gap were large. Most patients take longer to recover from crowns than onlays and inlays, as the latter is less invasive yet more effective.

The Difference Between onlays and inlays

When a dentist examines your cavity or tooth decay, he/she will prescribe one of the two dental fixtures based on your condition. While onlays and inlays serve the same purpose, their suitability varies depending on the affected tooth, shape, and area required to be sealed. The difference between the two can be broken down into their functions.

Function of Onlays

An onlay structure is designed for teeth with wider surface areas and with ridges and cusps. These include your wisdom teeth, molars, and premolars. An onlay placement is a remedy focused on preventing progressive tooth decay on the upper tooth surface often covered by cusps. Therefore, it covers a significantly wide surface area like a synthetic crown does. However, the onlay is less invasive because no tooth shaving is required.

Your dentist will prefer to place an onlay if your tooth decay or cavity covers a large surface area that would require a large filling. To avoid the discomfort and potential rejection of a big filling by your body, the onlay functions to make your tooth stronger from the outward surface. Its coverage can withstand the force exerted when chewing while keeping the cavity area free from additional germs. Ultimately, the earlier affected area will stop decaying, leading to a healthy oral cavity.

Function of Inlays

Conversely, inlays are designed to fit inside the tooth gap, similar to traditional metal fillings. However, unlike most fillings that fail to support the surrounding enamel on your tooth, an inlay serves this purpose. This is because onlays and inlays are made from strong porcelain material that resembles your natural enamel strength.

Subsequently, fitting the inlay is like filling your tooth with a prosthetic that is as close as possible to the missing enamel. As mentioned, your dentist will take the impressions for your teeth to ensure the designed inlay fits the gap perfectly.

Therefore, you will not notice a big difference to having a natural tooth, as the inlay fits snugly. On the other hand, most fillings are known to cause discomfort during the first few days as your body adjusts to the foreign metal. To avoid the discomfort, you can opt for an inlay instead.

Differentiating Between Onlays/Inlays, and Regular Fillings

The distinction between inlays/onlays and regular fillings may not be apparent, as they both aim to cover cavities and gaps created by continuous tooth decay. Nevertheless, some differences exist, giving you a good perspective when choosing the best treatment option.

Firstly, onlays and inlays are made from porcelain, a delicate yet durable material suitable for tooth fixtures. Its durability makes porcelain better to use compared to the metal alloys used in traditional fillings. Often, patients may need their metal fillings replaced, especially when it bends from the pressure of chewing and grinding teeth.

Overall, repetitive procedures may be detrimental to the affected tooth and could increase the total treatment cost. Conversely, since porcelain is more durable, you do not have to worry about breaking the onlay or inlay, except in extreme circumstances.

However, the durability and ability of porcelain fixtures to resemble your natural tooth color make the option more expensive compared to other forms of treatment. Due to the price difference, you should consider saving or discussing possible payment options with your dentist beforehand. This way, you are aware of the budget to create for your treatment.

You should also note that fillings are often a more popular choice as a remedy for cavities and tooth decay because the treatment process is faster. Since the metal fillings are readily available in your clinic, you can have your problem managed on the same day you first visit your dentist.

However, having your onlay/inlay filling placed takes approximately two appointments to enable custom designs for each patient. While the wait may be longer, you should consider the benefits you will receive compared to treatment using metal fillings.

The Process of Placing Onlays or Inlays

Once your dentist determines the best course of treatment for you, you are ready to receive treatment and have your onlay or inlay fixed. We recommend learning the expected procedures beforehand to help you stay ready for the subsequent processes. Typically, having onlay or inlay fillings takes about two separate appointments with your dentist. The first meeting allows him/her to conduct a physical examination on your teeth and prescribe an effective remedy.

In the first session, you can therefore expect a physical examination, as well as several follow-up questions to determine the onset of your condition. For example, if you are suffering from serious dental caries, your dentist may need to know when your pain symptoms started. Other questions may involve your ability to chew comfortably, as well as any developing bad breath from the tooth constitution.

Upon collecting the necessary details, the dentist will decide whether pre-treatment procedures are necessary before having the onlays or inlays placed. Common procedures include the removal of dental abscesses, which are pockets full of accumulated pus inside your tooth. They form as a result of a severe infection that may begin with cavities that progress to decay.

Secondly, we also need to make study models of your affected tooth to help create accurate and fitting inlays or onlays for you. Thus, you can expect to have the study impressions taken during your first appointment for the design to begin.

Patients who have not undergone the procedure before may be apprehensive, but you do not have to worry as it is a painless process. The dentist mixes unique mold powder into a dental mold that takes up the shape of your teeth and dries in a short while. This way, he/she has a consistent point of reference when ordering for your onlay or inlay designs. Some dentists may also request to take photos of the affected tooth/teeth for a realistic reference when devising your treatment remedy.

To conclude your first appointment, your dentist will also place an onlay or inlay temporarily to provide some relief before the main procedure. In the meantime, the real filling will be processed and ready for insertion by your next dental visit. Normally, the duration between your first and second appointment lasts for only a few days.

Your second appointment paves the way for the placement procedure, where you will leave the clinic with your cavities filled. Once in the clinic, the dentist will remove the temporary fixture and clean the area surrounding the cavity. Afterward, he/she carefully places the onlay or inlay on your tooth based on the design required to fit your contours adequately.

After the dental fixtures are well secured in place, your procedure is complete, and you are ready to test the new fillings out. Most dentists will provide after-care tips immediately after completing the process to help you adjust and avoid breaking or dislodging your onlay or inlay.

Determining the Durability of Onlays and inlays

Usually, porcelain inlays and onlays should last you for seven to thirty years, depending on how you maintain them. However, durability ranges depending on various other factors, including some which are uncontrollable. Nevertheless, most reasons are within your control, making it easier for you to prolong the protection provided by the inlay or onlay porcelain placed by your dentist. Thus, learning about the different factors that could lead to deteriorating durability is necessary.

Factors Affecting Durability

Some common factors include:

Poor Hygiene Habits

Failing to clean your teeth thoroughly leads to a re-growth of disease-causing bacteria that may pose a risk to the healthy recovery of your tooth. For example, if you had an inlay fixed, the surrounding area of the tooth may take time to recover. Subsequently, the flesh is vulnerable to new infections that may become severe with continuous negligence to your oral health.

Sometimes, failure to brush and floss your teeth may also leave some food particles between the porcelain layers. Consequently, continuous chewing applies pressure to the porcelain and may eventually dislodge the fixture. Having the inlay or onlay shift from its position is not only detrimental to your recovery but will cause excruciating pain that can interrupt your daily routine.

To avoid these experiences, we recommend brushing your teeth at least two times every day. You can also floss them if possible or run some mouthwash for a few seconds. Following this routine regularly will help you avoid the inconvenience of having to redo treatment based on deteriorating inlays or onlays. Ultimately, you will also save costs by following the recommended routine compared to having the porcelain replaced.

Failure to Attend Follow-Up Appointments

Additionally, you should attend all dental appointments scheduled by your dentist, as they allow him/her to assess your recovery after undergoing a procedure to have an inlay or onlay fitted. Since these fillings are foreign objects in your body, your gums may take some time to adjust and fuse with the porcelain, especially for inlays.

The follow-up sessions are important for your dentist to map the course of treatment and make adjustments if any. Since some events may prevent you from attending all your appointments, you can reach your dentist in advance and request him/her to postpone the meeting. The rescheduling period will still accommodate you and allow you to have the Fillings examined.

Conscious and Unconscious Habits

Patients with onlay or inlay fillings should also be cautious to prevent continuous wearing out of the fillings, especially if they can control it. For example, you may be prone to grinding your teeth when idle or when thinking. These activities occur during your conscious state, so you can recognize what you are doing. If possible, you can try to avoid these practices because they cause significant wear and tear on your teeth surfaces, as well as on the porcelain.

Other conscious practices that lead to faster wear and tear include eating hard foods and using your teeth to open bottles. Due to the hard pressure exerted on the porcelain, you could break the filling or cause it to chip off.

Sometimes, the clippings may spread around your mouth and cause small injuries that are then exposed to germs. Thus, avoiding hard foods as directed by your dentist is vital. Similarly, you should avoid using your teeth to open bottles or other sealed items.

For unconscious habits like grinding teeth in your sleep (bruxism), your dentist can provide additional remedies that prevent continuous wear and tear. For example, he/she may recommend wearing night guards to patients who exhibit significant signs of bruxism.

Exposure to Severe Injuries or Trauma

If you suffer a hard blow to your mouth, the effect may extend to your onlay or inlay fixture, causing it to break or dislodge. The injuries may have also exposed your gum tissue to bacteria, causing the surrounding area around the inlay or onlay to deteriorate. As a result, chewing becomes difficult from the pain and discomfort of having an open wound.

Upon facing injury, you should contact your dentist immediately for emergency treatment. His/her expertise is also useful when you need to have your onlay or inlay replaced from the effects of the injury.

The Cost of onlay or inlay Procedures

If you consider having your teeth fitted with onlays or inlays, you should also factor in the cost. Budgeting for treatment saves you the stress and delay that comes from unforeseen expenses. The average cost of the fitting procedures ranges between $650 to $1200 for each tooth that requires an onlay or inlay fitting. Several factors influence the price range, and it is important to understand them for clarity about the prices, as you will understand the reason for the expenses. They include:

The Severity of Tooth Decays or Cavities

The main factor to consider when determining your price range is the severity of your condition. Naturally, having severely affected teeth will require highly effective procedures, including the placement of inlays to provide additional support on the affected tooth. Further, if infections have spread to other teeth, your total treatment costs increase significantly because each tooth must be treated accordingly.

Sometimes, the severity of your infection may also require you to undergo several pre-treatment procedures. These include removing dental abscesses in case of build-up and treatment of infected gums, and minimally invasive procedures to remove any dead tissue. Cumulatively, these treatments will increase the total cost.

Type of Material Chosen to Fill the Cavities and Decayed Areas

As mentioned, most dentists prefer using porcelain when creating an inlay or onlay to fit your tooth. Its durability makes the material suitable to withstand the pressure applied when chewing hard foods or grinding teeth for patients living with the condition.

Moreover, porcelain resembles your normal teeth appearances, making it the most suitable option for discreet treatment. The aesthetic therefore provides an advantage over other remedies like metallic fillers. However, despite the benefits, the price range can be quite discouraging for some patients, especially if more affordable options are available.

The Quality of Dental Services you Receive

Furthermore, choosing your dental clinic will be influential to the final bill. Typically, clinics that provide high-quality services may have a slightly higher price range compared to other facilities. You have the advantage of analyzing your clinic history, receiving feedback from patients who have previously received treatment and other referrals. By doing this, you will be assured of receiving quality services that provide value for your treatment.

Insurance Coverage for onlay and inlay Treatment Services

You may also consider having your medical insurance provider cover costs for your treatment, primarily if the expenses are too high. The insurance company steps in to cover medical bills completely or for a significant percentage depending on your coverage scheme.

The option is viable for onlay and inlay treatment because it focuses on restoring a patient's well-being rather than aesthetic needs. Subsequently, the procedures are justifiable and should be approved by your insurance company, provided you justify the need for financial assistance.

However, some coverages may exclude specific dental procedures, including inlay and onlay placements. Nevertheless, we are open to discuss flexible payment plans that suit your financial needs. Our primary goal is to provide accessible treatment that relieves you of the pain and discomfort caused by open cavity and tooth decay holes. Feel free to approach us for a discussion on a reasonable payment plan before beginning treatment.

Find a General Dentist Near Me

When your oral health is at risk owing to severe tooth decay or cavities, you need to receive treatment as soon as possible. Contacting your dentist before your condition worsens will save you the trouble of having teeth extracted and suffering from painful symptoms and inflammations. Having an onlay or inlay fitted is the best option, depending on the nature of your condition. You want to seek an experienced dentist’s help and assessment. After your dentist examines you, he/she will be well equipped with the necessary knowledge to prescribe a treatment option.

If you seek first-rate dental services in Carson, California, Washington Dental is the one clinic to consider. With our outstanding services, you do not have to worry about substandard treatment that may cause disastrous outcomes. Instead, we focus on specialized treatment for each patient to achieve excellent results.

At Washington Dental, our team understands that each patient has different needs, so we are happy to take you through the treatment for reassurance. We also equip our clinics with the best facilities. If you require to undergo a procedure to have inlays or onlays placed, contact us at 310-217-1507.