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What to Know Before and After Getting Dental Inlays
You have significant damage to one or more of your teeth and you are considering getting dental inlays. Inlays are considered a conservative approach to restorative dentistry and the right choice for many patients. Before you get inlays, there are some things you need to know.
A guide to dental inlays
Inlays are used to fill large cavities or fractures inside the groves of the teeth. Inlays do not extend to the cusps of the teeth. Dentists recommend inlays when there is enough tooth structure to support the inlay, and it will provide additional support.
Preparing for inlays
Inlays are indirect fillings that are made in a laboratory and placed on the tooth. During the first visit, the dentist prepares the tooth for the inlay. The dentist removes the decay and damaged area while preserving as much of the natural tooth’s structure as possible.
Next, the dentist takes a mold of the tooth to send to a lab. This allows the lab technician to create an inlay specifically for that patient. A temporary inlay is put on the tooth to cover the hole left when the tooth was prepared. The patient will need to wear the temporary inlay for approximately one week.
Caring for a temporary inlay
Temporary inlays are secured in place. However, patients still need to take extra care. Temporary inlays are not as durable as permanent ones. If these restorations crack or fall out, the tooth’s nerves will be exposed.
Patients are encouraged to chew on the opposite side of their mouths when possible. Foods that could harm the inlay are also discouraged. Patients should not eat hard or sticky foods that could cause the inlay to crack or fall out. The temporary inlay needs to be brushed and flossed, but special care must be taken. Use a toothbrush with extra soft bristles and slide dental floss out between the teeth instead of pulling it from the top.
Getting dental inlays placed
Patients go back to the dentist when their permanent restorations have arrived from the dental laboratory. The dentist begins by removing the temporary inlay and cleaning the area. Then, the permanent inlay is placed on the tooth. The dentist makes sure the fit is secure and the bite is not affected. Then, the inlay is permanently bonded to the tooth.
After getting inlays
Patients might experience some sensitivity right after getting inlays, but it should subside quickly. Inlays strengthen teeth by as much as 75 percent, so patients can resume normal function after the permeant inlay is placed. That means they can eat their favorite foods and resume a normal oral hygiene routine. Inlays can last up to 30 years. Also, since inlays protect the tooth, patients are less likely to require additional restorative work.
Getting dental inlays
If you need a dental inlay, the process will begin with a trip to the dentist. The dentist will prepare your tooth and create a mold. You will go home with a temporary inlay and come back in approximately a week to get the permanent one. Then, your smile will be restored. The process is relatively simple and you can expect your inlay to last for years and years.
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