In the presence of old fillings that need to be replaced or deeply damaged dental structures, it is now possible to resort to dental inlays.
Thanks to the improvement of materials that Aesthetic Dentistry has witnessed in recent years. The restorative approach has evolved towards solutions that are not only safer than traditional metal restorations. But also more attentive to the aesthetics of the smile.
Direct restorations vs. Indirect restorations
Dental Aesthetics restores functionality, aesthetics and morphology of a dental element that is now structurally compromised due to caries, fractures, erosion or abrasions.
If the damage is not such as to require a restoration using a dental crown, it is thus possible to proceed with a “restoration”. Which can be, depending on the extent of the loss of dental substance, of a direct or indirect type.
Direct restoration can be described as nothing other than filling in teeth that have been treated previously. It is now performed, with the complete abandonment of all metals by using composite resins that can provide an accurate result in terms of aesthetics and aesthetic perspective. Functional.
In the case of good adhesion and acceptable mimesis however, composite materials exhibit morphological and chromatic instability as time passes (due to the shrinkage of the material in the process of polymerization) and, in most cases, separation of the margins of the tooth cavity and the subsequent bacterial invasion, necessitating periodic maintenance that is not complete (or partial) replacement.
While they are still an excellent alternative to balancing costs and benefits, they are only recommended when tooth substance loss is small or moderate in size. Large cavities, however, should not be restored with these materials.
In the presence of significant losses of enamel and dentin, indirect restorations are always preferable, as a normal filling cannot guarantee the morphological and causal respect that can instead be achieved by indirect restorations using so-called dental inlays.
Made in the laboratory on the patient’s impression, the dental inlays are of enormous precision and allow the tooth structure to be strengthened while preserving its substance (and therefore without encapsulating them unless strictly necessary), ensuring durability over time and a perfect aesthetic result.
What exactly is dental inlays?
Dental inlays are therefore restorations that are inserted into the cavity of a previously treated and prepared tooth using calibrated burs (exactly like fillings), which are however made by a dental laboratory starting from a precision impression.
Once old amalgam or defective fillings have been removed, or in the case of caries the infected tissues have been removed and the tooth prepared. An impression (conventional or digital) is taken from the patient. Which will then be sent to the laboratory, placing a temporary restoration on the tooth in waiting for the inlay.
Based on the impression
In the dental inlays technician will be able to create a model that is equivalent of the missing part. This will fill the cavity with the tooth, reconstruct its original shape, and manage the closing area of the restoration withxcellent precision.
Once finished, the inlay will be ready to be adhesively cemented into the dental cavity by means of a very thin film of composite cement. This will eliminate any intermediate space and reducing the risk of bacterial infiltration to a minimum.
Thanks to the superior chemical adhesion, the tooth and inlay integrate into a single body. It will restore the original beauty and integrity of the treated dental element.
Dental inlays materials
Dental inlays can be made of composite or ceramic. And the choice is evaluated by the dentist together with the patient. On a case-by-case basis, based on aesthetic needs (always taking into account the sector of application of the restoration). But also functional ones (mastication load and cavity size).
Even though they are more precise than a filling, dental inlays present the typical problems of the material with. Which they are made, i.e. lower resistance than ceramic and chromatic variations over time. However, they have the advantage that, being cemented with a resinous material completely similar to their own composition. They create extraordinary continuity with the tooth. They do not require any touch-ups over time in the area where the restoration meets the natural element.
These types of dental inlays are more aesthetic thanks to their translucency. This is typical of ceramic materials, and allows light to filter through in a natural way. They also have superior hardness and resistance to abrasion, a fundamental factor
for keeping the contact points unchanged over time without causing a change in the occlusion.
Types of dental inlays:
Inlays, On lays and Overlays
The inlays are further divided into types depending on the portion of the tooth to be restored and its position. This will result in “inlay”, “only” and “overlay” inlays, words that derive from English and mean respectively “inlay”, “overlay” and “cover”.
An inlay is an intercoronal inlay which, of limited dimensions. Is used for the restoration of limited areas within the mastication surface of the tooth. It could be compared to a piece of a puzzle. Tailor-made to fill the cavity with the tooth, restoring its integrity.
Dental inlays on lays
On lay inlays are instead used for more extensive restorations. Which also affect the dental ridges and therefore part of the chewing surface of molars and premolars.
Dental inlays overlays
In the case of damage extending to the entire upper chewing surface of the tooth. Which however maintains its roots and its healthy lower part (therefore requiring neither extraction nor a crown). It will instead be possible to intervene with an overlay or inlay.
In fact, this type of dental inlay allows, from a totally conservative perspective, to cover the entire upper part of the natural tooth. This gives it a new chewing surface that is solid and resistant thanks to the flawless integration with the underlying tooth.
Dental inlays: costs
The price of an inlay depends greatly on the materials used, its size and shape. It also depends obviously on everything relating to the dental practice and dental technician’s work
who will create the product.
Dental inlays cost more than a simple filling. However, we must always consider the undoubted advantages that an indirect restoration can boast in the presence of extensive damage to the dental structure.
Inlays are made from biocompatible materials, aesthetic results are excellent, and above all. These restorations guarantee resistance to decay over time, while respecting and protecting the natural dental inlays.