When it comes to inlay investigations, what is an inlay on a tooth? To find out the answer to this question and keep reading!

What if I told you that you might be able to go to the dentist less often without sacrificing the health of your teeth? Yes, even if you’re cavity-prone.

Those with plastic fillings need to get them replaced regularly, but with dental inlays, it’s possible to limit dental visits. An inlay is a type of pre-molded filling that fills a cavity.

Inlay Investigations: What Is an Inlay on a Tooth?

While inlays are a kind of filling, they differ from the types of fillings you hear the most about in some pretty significant ways. They’re different than dental onlays and crowns, too.

Here’s all you need to know about what inlays are and how to tell them apart from other types of dental restoration.

Dental Fillings vs. Inlays

Inlays are a type of dental filling, but not the kind you’re used to seeing. Unlike soft plastic fillings that harden inside the mouth, inlays are pre-molded and hard at the time of placement. Typically, inlays are either ceramic, gold, or a silver-colored composite metal.

In both cases, the dentist drills the tooth to remove decay. After that, they install the filling. An inlaid filling fits tightly on the tooth in such a way that it’s often permanent. While plastic fillings have to be replaced regularly, inlays last a lifetime. With inlays, if everything goes according to plan, then—you guessed it—you won’t have to go to the dentist to get your fillings redone.

Inlays, like any other medical equipment, break or malfunction on rare occasions. In these cases, patients have to return for repairs. One other downside is that insurance companies sometimes refuse to pay for inlays instead of fillings, due to the lower cavity filling cost.

Inlays Compared to Onlays and Crowns

If you’ve heard of dental inlays, chances are, you’ve heard onlays mentioned too. Inlays and onlays are both types of pre-molded dental restoration. While inlays are typically installed in place of a filling, onlays more frequently replace crowns.

Onlays sit on top of the tooth’s grooves and glued in place. These are unlike inlays and fillings, which fit inside the tooth.

Just like a typical crown, they can be used to treat teeth Unlike traditional crowns, though, they are custom-made to the teeth they sit on. This means that onlays require less drilling than crowns do.

Inlays, like onlays, require removing only the damaged portion of the tooth. However, they aren’t suited to replace a crown or onlay as they don’t cover the tooth.

Understanding Inlays

With a clear understanding of dental inlays, your next dental appointment can be scheduled from an educated point of view. To learn more about your teeth, make sure to check out our dental health section.

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