Gold Inlays and Onlays
What are Inlays and Onlays?
This type of dental restoration is typically a restoration alternative for a direct silver or composite (white) filling. The standard filling material for the direct application is usually made up of amalgam or composite resin.
Inlays or onlays are indirect restorations that are made with cast gold or porcelain. Although they are more of an investment than regular fillings, they are extremely durable and many times stronger. Since cast inlays and onlays of gold or porcelain can last for many more years than regular fillings, they are actually less of an investment in the long run. Since regular filling do not hold up as well, they need to be replaced more often causing the loss of more tooth structure each time a new filling is needed.
The other risk is that every time a tooth receives a new filling, the old filling is drilled out which can affect the nerve of the tooth. The result of doing many fillings on the same tooth could lead to the tooth needing root canal treatment.
Restorations can be divided up into two basic types, indirect and direct. Indirect restorations are those which are made outside of the mouth from an impression. A dental laboratory uses the impressions to make models upon which your gold or porcelain restorations are made.
These types of restorations include; crowns, bridges, inlays, and onlays. Indirect restorations have a slight advantage because they have the ability to provide the natural contours and surround the edges of the tooth, which on average can provide more support and generally last longer. Direct restorations are the fillings the dentist places in your prepared tooth once the decay is removed to restore your tooth to proper function, contour, and color, in a single visit. If these direct fillings are well done they can last for many years, but often they break down, chip, stain or fracture and need more replacements over the years.
Many patients in their 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, still have gold inlays, onlays and crowns in place that were done in their 20’s and 30’s. So there is a very good reason to consider restoring teeth very well the first time so that they hold up and last 20-30 years or more.
The whole procedure can be completed in as little as two visits to our office. On the first visit, the tooth will be prepared and impressions taken and sent to a lab where the inlay or onlay can be constructed. Patients receive a temporary inlay or onlay until the permanent piece is completed. During the initial visit, the correct color match will be determined if a porcelain restoration is planned, as well as the material that will be used to fabricate the inlay or onlay. The second visit consists of removing the temporary inlay or onlay and trying in the final restoration. It will be checked for proper accuracy and fit. The final step is to bond or cement the inlay or onlay to the tooth.
Enjoy a healthier, more confident smile and self esteem. Call us at (610) 692-4440 to schedule an appointment or request a consult.