Dealing with cavities for extended periods can create severe tooth damage, warranting you to seek professional dental treatment. Inlay and onlay services are among the valuable solutions available to remedy cavity problems, and your dentist may recommend the course of treatment depending on their analysis.

Both inlay and onlay restorations cover an open cavity area by replacing the damaged tooth section with a similar artificial structure. Working on cavity restoration using inlays and onlays requires you to partner with a trusted dental team that understands the various pointers to achieve the desired outcome. Depending on your dental needs, your dentist should have the necessary equipment to produce accurate Inlay and onlay dimensions.

At Washington Dental, you work with a dedicated team of skilled professionals equipped to provide quality dental services. We have helped hundreds of patients receive onlay and inlay treatment, giving us insight into practical tooth restoration techniques. You can also count on us to provide extensive information about your treatment, giving you the confidence to consent to our services. Our services are available for patients looking for inlay and onlay services in Carson, California.

The Nature of Inlay and Onlay Treatment

When you suffer a cavity, your tooth enamel gradually chips away from continuous bacterial activity, leaving tiny holes around the tooth. If you do not seek treatment early, you may experience advanced cavity infections that increase the size of your holes. As a result, you begin experiencing cavity symptoms that often interfere with your daily life by causing discomfort.

Options like fillings and crowns are available to remedy the cavity problem, but may present some disadvantages. For example, a filling may weaken the tooth because it occupies an uneven space. This is often when you subject the tooth to significant pressure when chewing hard foods or grinding your teeth in your sleep.

Further, crowns occupy the entire tooth surface and replace a significant chunk of your natural enamel. The treatment is more effective for tooth decay, as you will likely suffer more substantial tooth surface depreciation. On the other hand, using crowns to treat an advanced cavity may be ineffective and uncomfortable because it creates an additional surface layer that may be unnecessary.

Inlay and onlay treatment is an effective option that allows your dentist to remedy your cavity condition without exposing you to the possible disadvantages of filling and crown treatment.

The Difference Between Inlays and Onlays

While inlays and onlays are helpful for similar functions, some differences exist, and your dentist will recommend the most effective option based on tooth enamel damage. Understanding the difference between the two structures is necessary to help you adapt to the treatment options and continue to care for your teeth accordingly.

Inlay Treatment

Your dentist will likely recommend inlay treatment if your tooth has small to moderately large cavity holes. The inlay structure is shaped like the missing part of your tooth lost because of cavity decay and is fitted to close the hole. You can, therefore, expect the dentist to create a fitting inlay that prevents tooth weakness and restores your overall appearance.

Since Inlays are custom-fit to fill the holes caused by cavities, their shapes differ depending on the teeth they are to serve. Once in the tooth, the Inlays remain in the previously gaped hole, meaning they do not spread to the ridges and cusps.

The inlay structure fitted to your tooth should securely fill the cavity hole but not create discomfort or pressure around the tooth. For illustration, the Inlay occupies space using the "cork in a bottleneck" structure to prevent bacteria from entering and spreading through the hole.

Proper pretreatment procedures allow the dentist to obtain correct tooth measurements that ensure your Inlay fits comfortably. You can also choose the type of material to create your Inlay to ensure it remains durable throughout usage.

Onlay Treatment

Onlays work similarly to Inlays because they cover a wider tooth surface area. Onlay treatment benefits patients suffering from larger cavity holes after extended exposure to dental bacteria without seeking treatment.

Advanced cavity cases may result in uneven tooth damage beyond holes at the tooth center. Based on this, Onlay structures often adopt a more uneven shape that your dentist must align with your tooth's shape.

While onlay structures are more significant than inlays, they are not the same as crowns and cannot replace crown treatment services. Crowns are also less malleable than Onlay structures, meaning they are not designed to fit into abstract tooth spaces. Onlays are thus preferred to remedy advanced cavity infections, while crowns are better suited for tooth decay or severe tooth damage.

While your dentist may generally choose one type of treatment to remedy your cavities, your case may involve varying degrees of tooth damage. For example, one premolar may have a central cavity hole while another has worse damage, resulting in the need for both inlay and Onlay treatment. Your dental team will help you adjust to whichever treatment option is necessary for your well-being and undertake the installation procedure.

Parties Eligible for Inlay or Onlay Treatment

Cavities are the leading cause of tooth damage, especially when left untreated without proper treatment. Based on this, patients experiencing cavity symptoms are the most eligible for Onlay or Inlay treatment, so you need to visit your dentist for consultation if you have suffered the following:

Moderate or Severe Toothaches

Toothaches are a standard indicator of a dental condition, and you begin to experience the symptoms if your cavity hole exposes the nerves. Nerve exposure indicates how much bacteria has eroded the tooth, and you need urgent dental attention to prevent further complications.

If you need clarification about toothache intensities and have tried using painkillers without much change, consider consulting your dentist as soon as possible. Your case may begin with spaced toothache episodes and advance to consistent and high-intensity pain levels.

You should also note the primary pain triggers, as patients often experience discomfort after eating sugary foods and drinks or failing to brush consistently. Despite these common triggers, each case involves unique circumstances that require your dentist to monitor your case before recommending Inlay or Onlay treatment.

Pain When Biting or Chewing

Some patients may experience pain only when chewing and biting, contrary to the continuous toothache symptoms described above. If you only experience tooth pain when actively using them, your cavity condition may be less advanced. Therefore, you have a chance to rectify the problem and prevent the expansion of holes in your teeth from spreading bacteria.

Additional circumstances may involve pain when chewing and biting stemming from direct nerve exposure. The situation may arise even when the cavity hole is small and less advanced, provided it directly exposes your tooth nerves to external elements.

Your dentist may assess whether other underlying conditions are linked to chewing and biting pain. These include undiagnosed gum disease, untreated jaw injuries, and a jawbone infection. If your dentist uncovers an underlying condition, they recommend you first receive treatment before starting the Inlay and Onlay placement process.

Tooth Staining

Cavities manifest themselves through tooth stains, indicating areas undergoing bacterial spread and decay. You are likely to notice tooth stains in the early stages of holes, and they often change your tooth enamel appearance from white to black or brown. Enhancing your brushing routine and avoiding sugary foods and drinks is essential after noticing a tooth stain, as it may save your teeth from developing cavity holes and subsequent decay.

Cavity-related discoloration is also localized, affecting a specific enamel surface. The color points out the area of bacterial concentration, so you need to request your dental team for a tooth cleaning session before your dentist clears you for Inlay or Onlay treatment.

Tooth Sensitivity

When tooth dentine is exposed due to cavity holes, your nerves are extra sensitive to external stimuli. The nerve exposure often triggers tooth sensitivity, which may manifest at different patient levels. General symptoms of tooth sensitivity include sharp pains after taking hot or cold food or beverages, indicating the impact of temperature differences on your nerves.

Further, tooth sensitivity may involve sudden irritations when taking acidic food or drinks, as the acid component affects your nerves' functioning. For example, taking pineapples, oranges, or other highly concentrated foods triggers sensitivity, resulting in an uncomfortable sensation that lasts a few minutes.

Since tooth sensitivity may indicate many other dental problems, having your dentist properly diagnose them is essential. The information they receive will enable them to identify the harmful cavities causing the symptoms and recommend Inlay or Onlay treatment.

Tangible Holes on Your Enamel

Holes on your teeth are a physical sign of cavities, indicating an advanced infection that may soon cause tooth decay. You develop holes after the bacteria release harmful chemicals as waste. The process occurs after bacteria convert sugar and other food particles between your teeth's pockets, so a consistent cleaning routine is necessary.

Since you can see and feel the holes in your teeth, you will likely experience pain and further damage if you delay seeking treatment. Continued pain occurs due to the impact of hard food and drinks, exposure to sugary food and beverages, and additional injury from physical activity.

Overall, cavity symptoms vary among patients; some may experience more intense symptoms than others. Alternatively, you may have cavities without experiencing pain and discomfort. It would help if you still had professional examinations to establish the most suitable remedy for the condition. Therefore, working with a reliable dentist is advisable, as they will provide you with the necessary support.

Preparing for Inlay and Onlay Treatment

After your dentist recommends Inlay and Onlay placement as a remedy for cavities, you must take adequate pretreatment steps to ensure smooth installation procedures. As a first-time patient, your dentist provides guidance to help you meet requirements in time for the scheduled procedure date so you do not have to worry about meeting expectations.

The main preparation steps to take before Inlay and Onlay treatment are:

Undergo a Physical Examination

Many dental diagnoses and procedures begin with a physical examination to help the dentist assess the extent of the damage to your teeth. Based on this, you can expect your dentist to undertake a physical exam to check your gums, enamel, and the general tooth surface.

During the physical examination, your dentist notes significant differences between the healthy and affected teeth to form a comparison point for how severe your case is. They also assess the cavity hole sizes to determine the extent of bacterial spread.

Additional physical examination checkpoints include assessing whether you have bad breath, which may point toward existing pus pockets in your teeth. The pus develops in advanced cavities as your body fights the growing bacteria. 

As the examination concludes, you receive the dentist's observations and what they may indicate. However, the information amounts to something other than a diagnosis, as the dentist may still need to administer further tests.

Providing your Medical History

Medical history details are also essential for treatment, as they provide the information your dentist needs to plan your treatment course. Medical history details include information regarding previous dental conditions you may have suffered and medications you are currently taking for various other conditions.

Further, you must inform your dentist about underlying medical conditions like diabetes and acid reflux if you live with them because they guide the dentist on the proper treatment course.

For example, patients with diabetes also suffer dental problems due to reduced immunity. Acid reflux is also often linked to many dental problems because of the constant contact with acidic gas and fluids from the stomach.

If you are allergic to medication, metals, or anesthetic agents, you should disclose them when providing your medical history to avoid potential safety risks. Similarly, information about your current medication dosages helps your dentist avoid medications likely to cause adverse reactions when taken together.

Performing an X-Ray Examination

On top of running a physical examination, your dentist may also need to assess your internal jawbone and dental structure. They do this to determine whether the cavity damage has extended beyond the enamel and into the jaw, which will help them undertake the necessary recourse action.

X-ray procedures are often quick to complete, especially if your dental clinic has the equipment to produce the images. Before going in for the X-ray, consider disclosing information that may be relevant to prevent adverse reactions. For example, if you are highly sensitive to radiation, you can request protective gear to reduce your exposure.

3-D images are also relevant in cases where the patient's dental structure needs proper assessment before the dentist can incorporate a treatment plan. If so, you will follow a similar procedure to taking X-rays to help produce a solid image of your entire dental structure.

Taking Tooth Impressions

Inlays and Onlays should take up the same shape as your natural teeth, so taking tooth impressions is essential for the dentist's preparations. The procedure involves using a particular dental mold that takes up the tooth shape when pressed against your teeth. You will have the special mold press for a few seconds to help create an accurate replica of your dental structure, and the dentist often takes impressions for the upper and lower jaws.

Once the dental team obtains your impressions, they examine the affected teeth and determine the size of your tooth holes. Obtaining the tooth measurements from the mold is also essential, as it guides them in creating a fitting inlay or onlay structure.

If the dentist requests 3D image production, they will incorporate the information when designing your Inlay or onlay structures for extra accuracy. The development stage requires attention to every detail in your tooth structure, so working with an experienced dentist is crucial.

Performing Pretreatment Procedures

During the physical examination stage, your dentist may identify additional dental conditions requiring immediate treatment before installing inlays or onlays on your teeth. For example, gum infections, loose teeth, and tooth decay problems must be addressed immediately to prevent serious dental complications.

Additionally, you may have to pause or adjust ongoing dental procedures like orthodontics to prepare for Inlay or Onlay treatment. The dental team will establish the most suitable option for your overall well-being, and you will receive pretreatment procedures based on priority levels.

Once the dental team is satisfied that you are ready for onlay or inlay treatment, you receive an appointment date scheduled long enough to encourage recovery from your current treatment. For example, if you had to undergo tooth removal before onlay or Inlay treatment, you would need time for your gums to heal and for the discomfort to subside.

The Inlay and Onlay Treatment Process

Your treatment process occurs in two stages, allowing the dentist to cover essential steps to ensure your successful treatment. Based on this, you can expect to receive a subsequent appointment date after the first treatment process to complete your Inlay and Onlay placement.

During the first appointment, your dentist removes the tooth area undergoing cavity decay and any debris or stuck food particles from the region. The removal process is short and painless, but patients with exposed nerves may experience sensitivity as the dentist uses their tools to pick out the decayed elements. If so, you may request local anesthesia to reduce the pain intensity, which helps you sit through the session more efficiently.

Afterward, your dentist cleans each tooth by applying a gentle antiseptic liquid. They also use special dental tools to ensure each cavity hole receives adequate cleansing liquid to prevent future infections.

If the dentist is satisfied with the current state of the cleaned tooth, they will take impressions at this stage as part of the pretreatment process to replicate the cavity holes that need Inlay and Onlay sealing.

The last step in the first appointment involves sealing the tooth temporarily to give the dental team time to prepare your onlays and inlays. A temporary sealant may be made from dental plaster elements that dry up when needed and are removed using special dental tools.

Temporary seals are necessary to protect you from tooth sensitivity and additional exposure to bacteria during the few days it takes to complete the Inlay and Onlay designs.

The second appointment begins with setting the Inlay and Onlay structures on your teeth to fit the holes created by cavities. Your dentist places the Inlay or Onlay on each specific spot after removing the temporary sealing agent, and the process may take a few minutes to hours, depending on the number of cavities worked on.

After placing each onlay or Inlay, the dentist must seal them around the tooth to prevent them from moving out of place, especially as you chew or bite. The process is called setting the tooth, and the dentist follows it up with tooth bonding using a dental adhesive to secure the Inlay or Onlay.

If your Inlay and Onlay are made of gold, you may need them polished to match your natural tooth color. Teeth polishing, therefore, forms the final step in treatment, and you will receive aftercare tips after the procedure. Some care tips include avoiding hard foods for a few days after the procedure, brushing regularly, avoiding sugary foods, and attending follow-up appointments.

Contact a Dentist Near Me

You may need Inlay and Onlay treatment to seal the holes when you or a loved one suffers from a severe cavity infection. The procedure is critical to preserving and restoring your teeth, so you must consult a trusted dentist to take you through it. Your dental team should also be experienced enough to fit Inlays and Onlays without creating additional complications for your well-being.

At Washington Dental, you will receive excellent and quality dental services to help fit Inlay and Onlay structures as a cavity remedy. You can also rely on us to provide quality follow-up treatment to ensure the Inlay or Onlay fixtures continue to serve you for extended periods. Our team has helped hundreds of patients in Carson, California, giving them a chance to eradicate cavity problems. For more information on Inlay and Onlay, call us today at 310-217-1507.