Whether or not your tooth decay will receive a filling, an inlay, or an onlay is dependent upon the amount of dental damage present in the tooth.
Standard fillings are used when minor decay has eaten into the tooth and can still be filled with a minimum of material made from gold, porcelain, silver amalgam (which consists of mercury mixed with silver, tin, zinc, and copper), or composite resin. But in cases where the damage is more severe, the dentist may decide that a dental inlay or onlay is what is required.
Those getting an inlay or onlay have already been judged to have more extensive damage to the tooth than can be fixed with a simply filling, but instead of a crown, which would require grinding down the tooth and capping it completely, the dentist has chosen an intermediate measure.
A dental inlay is a pre-molded filling fitted into the grooves of a tooth and does not extend over the cusps of tooth. Dental onlays are used when the damage has affected the cusp (or tips) of the tooth, and/or potentially the biting surface. Both are treatments that can fill the void made by decay, but also protect the structure of the original tooth without necessitating further destruction.
If you would like to speak to our dentist about dental fillings, onlays or inlays, call Dr. Alan Golshanara and our helpful team at Alan Golshanara, DDS, MAGD, FICOI. Phone: 916-978-1100. Make an appointment or come by our office in Fair Oaks, California.