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Inlays and Onlays

Dental Office of Smiles by Shrenna Clifton, DDSCavities are a common oral health problem, affecting the teeth of millions of Americans of every age. They form as a result of the acids produced by a buildup of plaque and bacteria eroding the enamel. This erosion leads to the formation of small pits or cavities. When cavities form, treatment is needed. Often, this treatment is a filling. In most cases, fillings are quite effective. However, there are certain circumstances in which a filling can compromise a tooth rather than protect it. At Smiles by Shrenna Clifton, DDS, we can provide effective treatment for these more difficult cavities with inlays and onlays.

Treating Cavities With Amalgam and Composite Resin

Typically, cavities are treated in one of two ways, amalgam or composite resin. Amalgam has the longest history of cavity treatment, having been in use for over 150 years. The filling is a mixture of metals suspended in mercury. The material is well known for its superior strength. It is also known for its obvious silver color. Along with the color, many patients express concern over the metal and the mercury these fillings contain.

Composite resin is a more recent alternative to traditional amalgam. It is a mixture of fine glass, plastic, and other materials. Its greatest benefit is that it perfectly blends in with the rest of your tooth structure. It also contains no metal or mercury. However, it is not nearly as strong as amalgam and can be subject to wearing down and breaking much faster and easier.

Inlays and Onlays

Cavities on the chewing surfaces of your molars present a unique problem. Placing an amalgam filling in this area puts the tooth at risk for fracturing as constant pressures cause the tooth to split. Composite resin placed in this area is more subject to wearing down and breaking. Inlays and onlays provide an alternative to these traditional fillings that strengthen teeth, rather than compromise it. Inlays are used when decay affects a single cusp, while onlays are used when decay affects two or more. Typically made from porcelain, these treatments are known as indirect fillings, as they are designed and created outside of the tooth rather than cured inside of it.

Benefits of Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and onlays have some benefits:
•  They provide the teeth with strength.
•  Less of the tooth needs to be drilled away to accommodate the filling.
•  Because they are cured outside of the tooth, you do not have to worry about them shrinking inside of the cavity, as amalgam and composite resin do when cured.
•  Porcelain provides a beautiful, completely natural restoration.
•  Porcelain does not contain any metal or mercury.
•  Inlays and onlays cost less, and require less removal of natural tooth structure, than crowns.

The Procedure for Placing Inlays and Onlays

Unlike traditional fillings, which are done in a single visit, placing inlays and onlays takes two separate appointments. During your first appointment, we clean the tooth and drill away the decay. After the decay is removed, an impression is taken. This impression is sent to a dental lab, where the inlay or onlay is created. Because it can take up to two weeks for the restoration to be returned, a temporary filling is placed while you wait. When the inlay or onlay has been sent back, you return for your second appointment. At this appointment, we make sure everything looks and feels natural, and then we cement the inlay or onlay into place.

If a cavity has formed on the chewing surface of one of your molars, you may be a candidate for an inlay or onlay. For more information, or to schedule your consultation, call Smiles by Shrenna Clifton, DDS today at (470) 400-2001.
What our patients are saying about us.

  • "I love my new smile and get lots of compliments on how straight and bright my teeth look! It only took two appointments and no shots, Dr. Clifton, and her staff made it easy for me." ~ Ashley

  • "Dr. Clifton and staff are very professional. Love how friendly everybody was. I would highly recommend this place!" ~ Fred

  • "I have used Dr. Clifton for over 12 years and would not consider seeing any other dentist. She is caring, knowledgeable and gentle with her work. Her staff is professional, and the facility is very clean." ~ Allen

Cosmetic Dentistry
By Dr. Shrenna Clifton

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State-of-the-art dental care for your whole family.
166 Jefferson Pkwy
Newnan, GA 30263
Call: (470) 400-2001

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