A restoration is just what it sounds like – it’s a way of restoring your damaged tooth to its original state.
Today, decay or damage doesn’t have to mean the end of the tooth. There are any number of ways of restoring or repairing decayed or damaged teeth so that they can be just as beautiful and durable as they ever were, and so that they can be virtually indistinguishable from the teeth that they are intended to replace.
Fillings are intended to do just what the name would suggest – they fill small holes in your teeth, and prevent future decay. When teeth are filled, the decayed and diseased areas are removed, and then a filling material is placed in the cavity to create a healthy tooth.
Crowns are put in place to protect severely damaged teeth. You could think of a crown as a sort of “hat” for a really bad tooth. Often, a crown is placed following other extreme methods of restructuring a tooth.
Inlays & Onlays
What happens when your teeth are so damaged that a filling isn’t going to do the job, but a crown would be overkill? When that happens, the proper solution could be an inlay, or an onlay. These are fillings that are created outside your mouth, in a dental lab, and then sent to your dentist to be bonded to your tooth. When it fits inside your tooth, it’s an inlay. When it covers your tooth, it’s an onlay.
So, how do you get one? Well, when you need an inlay or an onlay, your dentist numbs your tooth, takes out the existing decay, and then takes an impression of your tooth, which is sent to the lab where your inlay or onlay will be manufactured. You’ll get a temporary filling that will protect your tooth until your inlay or onlay is ready, and then on your next visit, your permanent inlay or onlay will be attached. Once that’s done, you’ll have an artificial tooth that will be as strong as, or stronger than, your original tooth.
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