Inlays & Onlays
Have you ever run over a little pothole that was barely deep enough to sink your tire into? Compare that to the crater you ran over the other day that popped a hole in your tire. We’ve seen a car that was dropped into a crater that opened up into a sinkhole. The point is that some holes are bigger than others. While all of those potholes have to be repaired, some of those potholes are going to need a bigger repair than others.
It is the same in your mouth as well. Small cavities due to tooth decay are easy to fix. But what if you have a cavity on the biting surface of your tooth, especially the premolars and molars? There you need more than a simple filling. You either need an inlay or an onlay. If you aren’t sure what those are, let Queen Anne Family Dental give you some information on inlays and onlays.
Why Some Teeth Need Inlays and Onlays
Premolars and molars make up a big percentage of your teeth. You have more of those teeth than any other kind. These are not the pretty teeth that show up in photographs. Molars and premolars don’t get much press. Molars and premolars work harder than all of your other teeth because they do all of the chewing and grinding of food in your mouth. If you tried to chew a roast with your front teeth, it would be very awkward and almost impossible. Your molars and premolars are a vital part of your mouth.
It is common to get a cavity in your molars. That’s because they are in the back of your mouth, and you may not brush them properly. If you get a small cavity, it is easily repaired. We catch many molar cavities during our dental visits. However, when you get a cavity in the back, it can go without being noticed for a while. You may not think anything is wrong with your mouth until you are hurting. If you do bite down and feel pain, you need to come in and see us right away. If you are in pain, your molar cavity might be large. Sometimes, those cavities are on the biting surface of your molar. Those cavities can’t be filled the usual way.
The Benefits of Inlays and Onlays
Inlays and onlays work to repair your tooth’s biting surface. When the cavity is on the biting surface of your tooth, but it isn’t on the cusp, we can fix it with an inlay. But if the cavity is on the cusp, we need to use an onlay. Both inlays and onlays are custom-made for your molar. We have to custom make your molar repair because no two molars are alike. We make your inlay or onlay using porcelain so that it is strong and so it blends in with the rest of your teeth. Once we drill out your cavity and fill the hole, we can fix your inlay or onlay to your tooth with dental cement. That way, your tooth remains strong. A repaired molar can chew or grind with the other molars for many years.
Are you worried about one of your back teeth? If you think you may have a cavity on one of your molars, give Queen Anne Family Dental a call at (206) 424-4450. For those with fear and anxiety, we can offer IV sedation to help.