Tooth decay is one of the most common problems that we address at our Memphis cosmetic dentistry and general dentistry practice. There are many ways for us to address tooth decay, each one tailored to the extent of the tooth damage and the needs of the patient. The most effective treatment options for major amounts of tooth decay are inlays and onlays. Some patients aren't quite sure what these can achieve, so we'd like to take a moment right now to go over the basics of inlays and onlays. This should help you understand how we approach the issue of dental restoration.
About Tooth Decay
Tooth decay is caused by the bacteria that naturally resides in a person's mouth. This bacteria feeds on food particles left on the teeth, creating an acidic substance known as plaque. If not cleaned off, the plaque will weaken and eat away at the tooth itself. This includes the outer enamel layer of the tooth as well as the inner dentin layer.
While we have a number of preventative measures at our cosmetic implant dentistry practice serving Memphis, we stress to patients that they brush their teeth at least twice a day and floss every evening to help prevent tooth decay.
Inlays and Onlays
Inlays and onlays are dental restorations that help rebuild large amounts of decayed tooth structure. These inlays and onlays are made of ceramic or metal materials depending on the needs of the patient. They are strong and hence ideal for addressing the cusps (biting surfaces) of the teeth and other major parts of a tooth.
Why inlays and onlays rather than dental fillings?
Dental fillings are great for restoring teeth that have minor cavities or normal cavities. This is just small amount of tooth decay to restore. More substantial amounts of tooth decay will require advanced restorative dentistry treatments. Inlays and onlays can rebuild large sections of damaged tooth structure where dental fillings cannot. In some sense, inlays and onlays can be thought of as larger dental fillings.
Inlays and Onlays vs. Dental Crowns
Dental crowns are dental restorations that are used when a patient's tooth or teeth are severely decayed, so much so that inlays or onlays are no longer an option for treatment. When possible, we prefer to use inlays and onlays since they preserve more of a patient's natural tooth structure, which is better for the patient's dental health down the road.
Best Candidates for Inlays and Onlays
The best candidates for inlays and onlays are people who have substantial tooth decay that cannot be address through traditional dental fillings. If the patient is anxious about dental visits or treatments, we do have dental sedation options available to help ease any anxiety that is experienced.
Other Treatment Options to Consider for Advanced Dentistry
Sometimes when a tooth is severely damaged or decayed, it needs to be extracted and replaced. In such cases, Memphis dental implants are an ideal option for supporting a dental appliance such as a denture, dental bridge, or dental crown. Your eligibility for dental implants will vary based on your jawbone density and gum density.
Learn More About Dental Treatments and Dental Care
For more information about inlays, onlays, and other options for effective restorative dental care, contact our Cordova, Tennessee cosmetic dentistry practice today. Our entire team of dental health professionals looks forward to meeting you in person and helping you achieve a smile that's healthy and looks great as well.