The conventional amalgam fillings comprise of 50-60 percent mercury, and it has been associated with several significant health concerns in the last few years.
These fillings do not bond with teeth, and require a significant amount of healthy structure of a tooth to be removed to create a pocket to accommodate the filling.
Since the filling is placed directly inside the pocket, it does not offer additional support for the tooth and bacteria as well as food particles can collect in the pocket to cause more problems.
An alternative restoration that many a Cosmetic Dentist offers their patients is dental inlays and onlays.
What are Dental inlays and onlays?
Inlays and onlays are dental restorations that are bonded over the damaged part of a tooth, similar to a standard dental filling. However, this is the only way that it is similar to a filling.
Rather than being made in the patient’s mouth, inlays and onlays are created in a dental laboratory based on impressions of the patient’s teeth. Since inlays and onlays are bonded to the damaged tooth, the need to remove healthy tooth structure is not present.
As result of this, the damaged tooth will be strengthened and its structure will be preserved.
What is the difference between inlays and onlays?
The process of placing inlays and onlays is virtually identical. The main difference between these restorations is the size of the area of treatment. Normally, cosmetic dentists use inlays to treat cavities as well as areas of the tooth with minor damage. On the other hand, onlays are used to cover the surface of a tooth and are mostly used when the cusp of the tooth is damaged, or if the walls of the tooth are compromised.
Briefly, dental inlays and onlays are an alternative restoration that many a cosmetic dentist offers for amalgam fillings. These restorations are conservative and an aesthetically pleasing option.