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Summerwood Aesthetic Dentistry
Julie A. Spaniel DDS

Dental Inlays & Onlaysin Portland

Dental Inlays and Onlays Portland

If you have a cavity or a decayed tooth, you have choices in dental treatment. Inlays and onlays are dental restorations typically reserved to treat a tooth that cannot be treated with a filling, but is not damaged enough that it requires a dental crown. An expertly crafted and placed inlay or onlay can provide support to a weakened tooth while preserving as much healthy structure possible. Today’s inlays and onlays can be crafted using composite resin and porcelain, resulting in a natural-looking appearance.

Dr. Julie Spaniel of Summerwood Aesthetic Dentistry understands that there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution to tooth damage. She is dedicated to staying up to date on the latest and most advanced dental techniques and technologies to provide her Portland patients with the most long-lasting and effective solutions in dental care, including inlays and onlays.

To discuss your options for treating cavities or tooth decay, please contact Summerwood Aesthetic Dentistry.

Understanding Inlays & Onlays

Inlays and onlays are dental restorations designed to fit the shape and size of the space on a tooth where decay was removed. Inlays fit in the center of the tooth surface within the points or cusps of the tooth. Onlays offer more coverage, extending over one or more of the tooth’s cusps. Once they are fabricated and ready for placement, inlays and onlays are bonded into place. With proper care, inlays and onlays can last many years.

Inlays & Onlays Treatment Details

Inlays and onlays typically require two appointments to create and place. During your first visit, Dr. Spaniel will remove the damaged or decayed portion of the tooth and clean the remaining tooth structure. Impressions will be taken of your tooth, which will be used to fabricate your inlay or onlay. It takes approximately two weeks for inlays and onlays to be created at a dental laboratory. In the meantime, a provisional inlay or onlay will be placed to protect the tooth.

Dental Inlays and Onlays Portland Orgeon

Once the permanent restoration is ready, you will return to our office for placement. Dr. Spaniel will remove the temporary inlay or onlay and replace it with the permanent one. Once it’s in place, Dr. Spaniel will check its fit and make any last-minute adjustments to ensure a precise fit. The final step is to bond the onlay or inlay to the tooth and polish it for a beautiful shine.

Like natural teeth and other dental restorations, inlays and onlys require good oral hygiene (i.e., proper brushing, flossing and routine dental checkups). Dr. Spaniel and our team are committed to helping you maintain your healthier smile for years to come. We can share additional tips on how to take care of your teeth and restorations during your dental appointment with us.

Inlay and Onlay Recovery

Inlays and Onlays in Portland

Inlays and onlays are common, minor dental procedures, so you should feel well enough to resume your normal activities within a day or so. If you have any lingering discomfort, you may take pain medication. Your teeth may be sensitive for a few days, so avoid foods that are especially hot or cold that can trigger this sensitivity. It is also smart to prioritize soft foods in the first few days so that you do not accidentally crack, chip, or loosen your newly cemented inlay/onlay.

Inlay and Onlay Materials

Historically, inlays and onlays were made of gold, which made them easy to spot in the mouth. Dr. Spaniel and her patients prefer the modernized approach of using porcelain, which can match the shade of your teeth and be virtually undetectable to your friends. Inlays and onlays can also be performed with composite resin less expensively, but porcelain is the best material for achieving durable, long-lasting results. 

Caring for Your Inlays and/or Onlays

Inlays and onlays are more durable than traditional fillings and can be expected to last a decade or more with proper care. To ensure that they are in good condition for many years to come, brush and floss teeth that have been treated with inlays/onlays like you do your other teeth. Removing bacteria and plaque not only keeps your treated teeth from becoming re-infected, it also should help prevent you from needing additional inlays and onlays.

Inlays and Onlays FAQs

Why might Dr. Spaniel suggest an inlay or onlay over a normal dental filling?

Inlays and Onlays in Tigard

Fillings are great for most cavities, but the composite resin does not have the ability to strengthen a weakened tooth or improve its functionality. Composite resin also slowly erodes whereas porcelain does not. If a tooth needs more strength to bite, an inlay or onlay may be the best option.

Is an onlay better than a dental crown?

Dental onlays may be preferable to dental crowns in certain situations because they cover only the parts of the tooth that need help rather than crowns which fit over the entirety of the tooth. (Teeth must be scraped down before receiving crowns to fit the crown over them.) Dr. Spaniel takes a conservative approach to dentistry, so when it is possible to strengthen the tooth with a less invasive procedure that preserves more of the tooth (such as an onlay), she will suggest that.

Are inlays and onlays aesthetically pleasing?

Yes, inlays and onlays are ideal for making your tooth look just like its natural color and shape. It is a great procedure for improving the health and appearance of your tooth in such a way that it is unobvious that you have had a dental procedure performed.

Do inlays and onlays hurt?

No, Dr. Spaniel uses local anesthesia to numb your tooth prior to treatment so that you remain comfortable during your procedure. Some patients experience mild discomfort once they have returned home, but this can typically be alleviated with pain medication. If you are anxious about your treatment, speak to Dr. Spaniel about sedation dentistry options.

To learn more about inlays and onlays, or the other restorative dentistry services Dr. Spaniel offers for cavities, schedule a consultation. Contact Summerwood Aesthetic Dentistry by calling or sending us an email today.