An inlay restoration is a special type of custom made filling. Inlays may be constructed of composite material, tooth-colored porcelain, or gold. Inlays are custom made by a professional dental laboratory, then permanently cemented in place by your dentist.
Inlays may be utilized for repair of teeth that have large defective fillings, or that have been damaged by decay or trauma. Inlays offer an ideal alternative to traditional silver and composite fillings. The inlay process is a more conservative treatment than crowns, as less tooth structure is removed in preparing a tooth for the inlay.
Like natural teeth and all forms of dental restorations, inlays may not always be completely permanent. Although quite durable, they may someday require maintenance and / or replacement. With proper care, inlays will last for many years, assuring you of a beautiful, long lasting smile.
The inlay process will usually require two appointments. During the first appointment, your dentist will make several very precise impressions (or “molds”). These will be used to fabricate both a temporary inlay and your “permanent” restoration.
The tooth and gum will be numbed, then your dentist will remove any decay and / or existing fillings. The opening will be cleaned thoroughly and prepared as needed. During this process, the surface will be carefully shaped to properly fit the permanent inlay restoration. All openings / gaps in the tooth will be temporarily filled to provide protection while your permanent inlay is being fabricated by a dental laboratory.
During your second appointment, any temporary filling material will be removed, the opening thoroughly cleaned, and then your custom made inlay will be carefully and precisely cemented into place. Sometimes, minor adjustments may be necessary to obtain a proper fit and to achieve a comfortable bite.
You will be given care instructions when your treatment is complete. It is important to always use proper oral hygiene practices. Proper diet and regular dental visits are also important in maintaining the life and health of your new inlay.