In the past, a back tooth with decay was restored with a silver amalgam filling and while amalgam has been successful, it requires more of the natural tooth structure to be removed during placement. Amalgam also detracts from a beautiful white smile.
Inlays and onlays are tooth coloured solutions that have become a preferred treatment alternative to silver amalgam fillings. They are strong, require only the decayed area to be removed and allow you to retain a natural looking white smile.
An inlay is placed within the indented area of a back tooth, which has only minimal decay. An onlay however, is placed when a larger restoration is required and may cover one or several cusp tips.
Firstly, the life dental team carefully prepares your tooth. Your inlay or onlay is made from high quality ceramic from a detailed mould of the tooth they are repairing. This enables a strong bond between the restoration and the natural tooth structure, than if would if an amalgam filling were placed.
Ceramic inlays and onlays are more resistant to temperature changes, whereas metal fillings can be sensitive to hot and cold foods and drinks causing them to expand and contract. This micro-movement may cause further damage to the remaining portion of your tooth and could result in your silver filling loosening or adjacent tooth fracturing.
The seamless integration between your natural tooth and your inlay or onlay will significantly reduce the likelihood of your restored tooth redeveloping tooth decay, adding to the life of your new white filling.