When we eat food containing sugars and starches, and forget to brush our teeth, the bacteria that live in our mouths digest these foods turning them into acids. This acid combined with bacteria, food particles and saliva forms plaque that sticks to our teeth. The acids in plaque dissolve the enamel surface of the teeth and the underlying dentine layer creating holes in the teeth called cavities. Depending on how large the cavities are, they’re treated with fillings, inlays, onlays or crowns accordingly.
Fillings are the most traditional method used to treat cavities. There are two types of fillings: dental amalgam and composite fillings. Resin composite fillings are composed of plastic compounds. They have the advantage of resembling natural teeth and are therefore preferred especially in use with front teeth.
How it’s done
In order to insert a filling, our dentist will firstly numb the area, and then prepare the tooth by removing any decay, old fillings or weak areas of the tooth. The tooth is then washed and dried by blowing water and air onto it, after which the filling is placed within the tooth cavity and molded into shape.
Inlays & Onlays
A dental inlay fills the space in between the cusps, or rounded edges, at the center of the tooth’s surface. Hence it ‘in-lays’ within the cusps. Inlays are made of porcelain. While fillings have a life span of five to 10 years, inlays can last for several decades.
As with fillings, inlays offer a more conservative approach that preserves as much of the healthy tooth as possible. They are a great choice if you have minimal to moderate tooth decay, offering an excellent alternative to full coverage crowns.
How it’s done
In order to insert an inlay or onlay our dentists begin by numbing the area with the use of a local anesthetic. After the decay is removed, a three-dimensional picture of the damaged tooth is captured creating a virtual impression. Through the use of CAD technology our skilled dentists utilize this image to design an inlay or onlay perfect for your tooth. Thanks to CEREC technology, which we offer here at Smile Design Cosmetic Dental Center, this image will automatically materialize within minutes as a ceramic inlay or onlay ready to be bonded onto your tooth. This process is incredibly efficient making temporary restorations and second visits a thing of the past!