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Michelle Hedgecock, DDS
Your Austin, TX Dentist


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Inlays and Onlays


Smiling patient receiving exam with dental mirrorMany people will consider crowns and fillings when they want to fill in cavities. However, there are other alternatives to crowns and fillings, for instance, inlays and onlays. Crowns are an ideal choice when you have deep decay or a large fracture as they can cover them substantially. On the flip side, fillings tend to work better for smaller cavities. Sometimes, though, fillings may not be sufficient enough. Besides, there are cases where crowns seem to be too much to offer protection against decay. If you find yourself in this situation, our dental specialist at Michelle Hedgecock, DDS may recommend onlays and inlays to help fill the gaps.

Difference Between Inlays and Onlays


A dentist fits inlays to fill cavities within a tooth, especially in areas between the cusps. Onlays, on the other hand, not only fill in cavities but also work in situations where large areas need to be filled. Although onlays work in the same way as crowns, they will not cover the entire surface of the tooth. Inlays and onlays both do the same job and the construction materials are the same.

The Procedure


After your teeth are damaged from decay or injury, our dentist remolds and fits inlays to cover the surfaces of the teeth. The dentist will make an impression of the area that is used to fabricate the inlay. Your inlay will fit perfectly into the area although it will not affect the cusps. Additionally, the dentist will match the color of the inlays to that of the tooth, making the restorations less visible.

For the case of onlays, a dentist places them on the tooth and they are often a choice if the cusps, as well as the biting surface, are affected by the tooth damage. If the cavity that you need to be covered is too big to shield with conventional fillings, you may need an onlay. Similarly, if your tooth is likely to crack from weakness, an onlay is preferred to an inlay.

During the procedure, the dentist prepares the tooth in the same way as filling a tooth. The dental professional drills out the cavity before cleaning it up. A numbing anesthetic is administered in the mouth to make you comfortable. The dentist will place a temporary onlay at the top of the cavity and send the impression to help fabricate the permanent onlay. The good thing with an onlay is that it preserves your tooth structure, unlike crowing where a dentist will need to reshape the tooth or sometimes remove the cusps.

How Long Do the Restorations Last?


Inlays and onlays are pretty durable. Your inlay may last for up to 30 years, however, the lifespan depends on the construction material. Other factors may also determine how long inlays last, so we may not be able to precisely tell you how long they will function. If, for instance, porcelain is used to make your onlays, they may last a short time compared to those fabricated from a composite material. Additionally, how well you care for the restorations determines how long they survive.

Find out more about inlays and onlays by visiting our team at Michelle Hedgecock, DDS. Book an appointment by contacting us at (512) 617-3361.
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Michelle Hedgecock DDS, 1008 Mopac Circle, Suite #100, Austin, TX 78746 ^ (512) 617-3361 ^ smileaustintexas.com ^ 9/22/2022 ^ Key Phrases: dentist Austin ^