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How a Dental Inlay Differs From a Filling
When a tooth is decayed, the two most common options for repairing and restoring it are dental fillings and dental inlay. These dental restorations achieve the same purpose but are executed differently. Repairing the tooth is necessary to prevent further damages. In this article, you will discover what differentiates a dental inlay from a filling.
Overview of dental fillings
Dentists use dental fillings for mild to moderate tooth decay. The process entails cleaning out the decayed part of the tooth and filling the cavity with filling materials like porcelain or tooth-colored composite resin. The filling process can also work to repair cracked, broken, or worn-down teeth. First, the dentist will numb the affected tooth before using a drill or laser to eliminate decay. The gap left behind will be cleaned thoroughly before the filling material is applied. The tooth will be polished to restore its natural luster.
Dentists usually consider this treatment option when there is a large cavity on the back tooth, and a regular dental filling will not be strong enough to support the tooth. The dental inlay can work if some part of the tooth, including the cusp, is unaffected. Placing an inlay takes two dental appointments. During the first appointment, the dentist will clean the damaged or decayed part and disinfect the tooth. After preparing the tooth, dental impressions will be taken and forward to the dental laboratory.
At the second visit, the dentist will place the custom dental inlay over the tooth and bond it permanently. Afterward, they will check to ensure that the inlay fits properly and the tooth aligns with the bite correctly.
The differences between a dental inlay and a filling
The major difference between inlays and filling is the method of approach. A dental filling is called direct dental restoration because the entire process is completed in the dental office with the material applied directly over the tooth in one appointment. However, the inlay takes an indirect approach because it first requires tooth preparation before impressions are taken and forwarded to the dental lab. This means the process takes two dental visits.
Inlays are custom-made for the patient, so they fit perfectly into the cavity or breakage. Therefore, they tend to look more natural and appealing. It also helps to preserve the natural tooth structure. The material used for inlays are stronger and more resistant to damage, so they tend to last longer than dental fillings.
Being able to differentiate between dental inlays and fillings, and their purpose is important when deciding the best method to restore a damaged tooth. Each option has its downside and benefits.
If you have a damaged or decayed tooth, the dentist will assess the severity of the damage and recommend the best option for your teeth. A dental inlay is great for a back tooth that is not damaged enough to need a dental crown but too severe to be repaired with a dental filling. If you have more questions, contact the dental office.
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