Dental pieces can be damaged for different reasons. Tooth decay is usually the main reason. They can also suffer fractures and wear.
When the loss of dental structure is not very great, the filling can be done directly in the mouth.
If the damage to the tooth is moderate to large, the Prosthodontics specialist should assess if it is possible to restore it with a partial filling or if it is necessary to cover the tooth with a crown.
It is always best to opt for the least invasive treatment where the greatest amount of tooth structure is preserved and, in turn, functionality and aesthetics are fully restored.
Whenever is possible, an inlay is preferable to a crown, for it preserves more healthy tooth structure. The inlays are manufactured in the dental laboratory, and different materials can be used, including porcelain, composite, zirconium or precious metals.
Procedure for making an inlay in San Pedro or Escazú
- Once it has been determined that an inlay is the most appropriate procedure to restore the functionality and aesthetics of the piece, it is necessary to decide what material will be used. This decision depends on several factors:
- The area of the mouth in which the restoration will be made: if it is an area where the restoration will be visible, a material will be sought that will allow an adequate aesthetic finish.
- If it is an area that receives direct masticatory force, the material must be sufficiently resistant.
- The cost must also be taken into account since some materials are more expensive. The options are given to the patient.
- For the manufacture of the inlay, the specialist prepares the damaged piece by removing all the cavities (if this was the reason for the damage) or the affected part. Then a suitable shape is carved to receive the inlay.
- Once the cavity is prepared, an impression must be taken in order to have a duplicate of the mouth. Traditionally, a material was put in a tray which was then placed in the mouth for a specific amount of time.
With the new CAD/CAM technology that is available at Clínica Gil in San Pedro and Escazú, this step is done with a digital scanner that takes an image of the pieces and precisely records the shape and dimensions of the cavity restore. This image is then put on a computer.
While the inlay is being manufactured in the Digital Dental Laboratory, the cavity is filled with a temporary material.
- Once reviewed by the specialist, the image is sent to the Digital Laboratory. Using CAD/CAM technology, the restoration is manufactured according to the specialist’s specifications in terms of material, color and design.
- Once the inlay has been manufactured, the Prosthodontist reviews it so that the color, specifications and margin adjustment are adequate. If everything is correct, the patient´s provisional filling is removed and the dental surface is prepared. The restoration is then secured and the final settings are given.
Types of inlays
Inlays are used mainly on molars and premolars. The types of inlays are classified according to the size and the surfaces of the dental piece that they cover. There are 5 dental piece surfaces. Cuspal coverage is also considered.
- 1 or 2 surfaces inlays
Inlays do not cover cusps. In this case, they cover 1 or 2 surfaces.
- 3 or 4 surface inlays
In this case, the inlay does not cover the cusps; they are more extensive, covering 3 or 4 surfaces of the piece.
An onlay is the inlay that covers several surfaces of the piece, including one or more cusps.
Dental Inlay price
The size of the inlay, the number of surfaces it covers and the material from which it is made are taken into account when determining dental inlay pricing.
Benefits of dental inlays
- The main benefit of an inlay is that it preserves the tooth structure. This is because it does not require extensive carving of the piece. The cavity is only prepared by removing damaged tissue and replacing lost dental tissue.
- An inlay is less invasive treatment; thus, it does not weaken the tooth.
- An inlay returns functionality to the damaged piece and restores the required chewing force.
- An inlay improves dental aesthetics.