Restorations from our dentist and the role of inlays
Many techniques to restore teeth are famous in restorative dental care, such as crowns, fillings and implants to name just a few. But one that is often forgotten is the inlay. Let's look further into this device and how our dentist in Orpington uses it.
What is an inlay?
An inlay is a small porcelain prosthesis, it is the midway point between a crown and a filling in a tooth that requires more material to be replaced than a standard filling could provide. But they still have a significant quantity of integrity and preparing the tooth for a crown would result in the loss of a large quantity of perfectly healthy tooth, which is avoided with an inlay.
This is the middle ground best suited for inlays. They can be particularly useful on the top surface of molars, where biting surfaces can often have thin enamel and their natural crevices provide a cranny for bacteria and cavities to form.
How are they fitted?
We begin dealing with the initial decay which has set into the tooth, this needs to be fully cleared of potential bacteria. The remaining tooth can be either replicated with a silicone mould or a 3D oral scanner can be used to capture a model of the tooth. We send these to one of our partner dental laboratories for fabrication, made from a blend of polymers and porcelain. This gives a natural alternative to enamel which is much harder wearing and does not have the brittle qualities of pure porcelain.
A temporary filling is used to secure the tooth during the gap between the measuring session and the fitting session. Once the prosthetic has been fabricated, it can be permanently fixed in place using dental cement at our dentist in Orpington.
Maintenance and longevity
Unlike fillings with a maximum life span of 5 years, an inlay can Iast to 20 with good maintenance and care, so despite the increased cost, they can save you money in the long term. The same principles of dental hygiene apply to an inlay as any normal tooth. Regular brushing is a must, as well as the use of a fluoride toothpaste. And while an inlay is usually placed on the top of the tooth, and rarely on the sides, it is always advisable to floss any teeth that have inlays too.
Continuing 6-monthly check-ups is important for catching issues early before serious damage occurs, like cavities forming at the edges of an inlay and extending underneath, this is possible but unusual. And due to them being obscured, they are only likely to be noticed during a professional examination.
Very hard foods and crunching ice can still damage inlays in the same way as fillings. If an inlay becomes dislodged, but is undamaged, we would be happy to recement it back in place.
But you should still take care!
If you have any further questions or are curious about how inlays from our dentist in Orpington could help you or family members, please feel free to get in contact with the clinic. We receive queries either over the phone or by email and endeavour to get back to you outside of office hours if you leave a contact number.