Dental Inlays: 3 Common Questions Answered

Tooth decay is just about as ubiquitous today as the sugary treats that contribute to it. Unfortunately, many people still fail to appreciate the wealth of restorative techniques used to combat dental decay. If you would like to improve your understanding of contemporary dental technology, read on. This article will provide answers to three common questions regarding dental inlays.

What sort of issues are inlays used to correct?

Dental inlays are used to restore the appearance of teeth that have been damaged by decay. In other words, like fillings, crowns, and veneers, they constitute a so-called restorative technique. Before an inlay can be installed, the decay, along with any damaged portions of the tooth, will have to be thoroughly removed. Only then can the inlay, which is custom created to fill in the missing part of the tooth, be attached by means of a special dental cement.

How are dental inlays created?

Inlays are made through a process of indirect fabrication, as are crowns and veneers. This means that once any damaged or infected portions of the tooth have been removed, your dentist will make an impression of the tooth using a substance known as polyvinyl siloxane. This impression provides a template for the creation of the inlay. Depending on your particular desires, the inlay can be created using either ceramic, resin, or gold.

What is the difference between an inlay and a filling?

The principal difference between an inlay and a filling has to do with the severity of the damage they are used to repair. Fillings are more appropriate for treating cavities and similarly small occurrences of decay. Aside from filling in the hole left by the removal of such cavities, a filling does not act to change the overall shape or appearance of your damaged tooth.

Inlays are more commonly used when the damaged area is too large to treat with a filling yet not quite large enough to necessitate the installation of a dental crown. In other words, dental inlays offer a versatile solution for reshaping a decay-ravaged tooth. They also offer much greater durability than do dental fillings. This has to do with certain limitations of the resin out of which fillings are created.

These resins are collectively known by the name of dental composite. Dental composite, despite its ease of installation, has one primary drawback: it has a tendency to shrink slightly as it cures. This increases the risk of the filling working loose down the line. Because inlays can be constructed using materials that are not prone to this shrinkage, they tend to enjoy a much longer lifespan.

For more information, consult a dentistry such as Smile City.