Although nobody ever wants to, most people will need some kind of filling in their lifetime. And just as there is a variety of conditions and circumstances that might necessitate a filling, there are various types of fillings. One that we offer at Mill Creek General Dentistry is known generally as an indirect filling.
Indirect fillings are so called because they need to be fabricated before being placed. They are typically used to restore fairly extensive decay or where the tooth structure might not be able to support a traditional filling. They are a midway point between fillings and crown restorations.
There are two basic types of indirect fillings: inlays and onlays. The main difference between the two is the amount of tooth material they replace. Inlays stay entirely within the cusps (bumps) of teeth. They work much like inlays in a piece of furniture, fitting precisely into the existing structure. Onlays are more extensive and cover at least one cusp. They are sometimes called partial crowns because of how much material they cover or replace.
Inlays are onlays are much more durable than most traditional fillings, lasting up to 30 years. They also weaken overall tooth structure to a lesser extent. The main drawback is that they take multiple visits, typically two, to complete. But they are great restorations for teeth with significant damage. If you would like to know more about inlays, onlays, or any of the other restorative options we utilize at Mill Creek General Dentistry, please call our Mill Creek, WA, office today.