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  • Writer's pictureCray Dental Care

How inlays work at our dentist in Orpington

Inlays are an interesting solution if you need a filling. Not that long ago, they were the only tooth coloured filling option available at our dentist in Orpington but so much has changed in recent years. Let's find out how an inlay can be beneficial to you.

Inlays- what are they?

Inlays are small pieces of porcelain which are placed into the tooth after an appropriate channel has been cut from the natural enamel. Once fitted and polished, they seamlessly blend into the natural tooth around them, acting as a patch.

What do they treat?

10 years ago, white or low impact/white fillings were expensive and limited. Inlays were the only option for patients who needed a hard durable tooth coloured treatment for cavities. The role was to repair sections of the tooth that had been compromised, but where a full crown would be excessive.

How are they made?

Inlays are similar to veneers, except that they are smaller and thicker and are designed to sit inside the tooth rather than over the tooth. On the first visit to our dentist in Orpington, all the decay is drilled out of the tooth. The impression is made of the remaining healthy tooth. We send this mold to our partner dental laboratory, where the porcelain inlay will be manufactured.

In the second session, the inlay is fitted. The prosthetic is deliberately oversized, allowing our dental team to make final adjustments, resulting in a seamless fitting. That not only looks good but the extended life span of the inlay keeps out bacteria.

Are there other options?

Every case is unique and there may be a very good reason that restricts a person to not having inlays. But for many the treatment of a composite filling has become more common. Historically, the weakness of composite fillings have been overcome with a better mix of silica and polymers, bound using UV cured resin, making them suitable even for hard-wearing molars.

Composite fillings are outside the NHS remit, but so are inlays (both considered cosmetic with metal amalgam filling being the funded treatment). They can be completed in a single appointment making them much more economical. With the same potential to be matched with your enamel shade, then sculpted and polished, blending it in the tooth.

Inlay lifespan

The lifespan of inlays are variable, between 5 and 20 years. The good news is that the biggest factor is oral hygiene. With our in clinic hygienist, many of the issues that led to treatment can be addressed, with scale and polish, accompanied by guidance on effective brushing techniques and how to get the most from flossing. Allowing you to minimize your need for further treatment. With the same level of care, inlays are less vulnerable to encroaching decay setting in around the work, resulting in loosening. But they are not quite as long-lasting as a full crown.

If you have any further queries about inlays at our dentist in Orpington or would like to find out which dental care services are appropriate for you, please feel free to get in contact with our receptionists either with the query form on the website or over the phone.


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