Using Inlays/Onlays as an Alternative to Fillings
When patients have cavities, the general recommendation is to go ahead with a composite or amalgam filling. However, Tribeca dentist Dr. Wen Li-Cavallo of Bella Dental says that fillings may not always be the right solution in every case. Dr. Li-Cavallo says that inlays and onlays can sometimes provide an excellent alternative to fillings in cases where the amount of tooth decay is especially large.
If more than one-third of a tooth has been damaged by decay, then dental fillings are usually not recommended. This reason for this, as Dr. Li-Cavallo explains, is because traditional composite and amalgam fillings cannot support a tooth that is missing a significant amount of tooth structure. Although some people would assume that crowns would be the next best option, the Tribeca dentist says inlays and onlays are actually the preferable solution.
Dental inlays and onlays are considered a more conservative alternative to full-coverage crowns. They can be used to treat a tooth that has been damaged by decay or some other type of structural issue. Inlays and onlays are preferable to dental crowns both because they are considered a more conservative approach and because they are highly functional.
The only downside to inlays and onlays, says Dr. Li-Cavallo, is that they sometimes are not covered by patients’ dental insurance policies. In these instances, where a patient wanted to stick with a treatment that would be covered by his or her insurance provider, the Tribeca dentist would recommend either a composite filling or a dental crown.
Composite fillings are preferred over amalgam fillings because amalgam fillings contain levels of mercury that are not ideal. Additionally, composite fillings are more esthetically pleasing than amalgam fillings. Composite fillings can work on all teeth, except those teeth that have been damaged by cavities that are too far below the gum line.
Although the lifespan of any type of dental treatment can vary, Dr. Li-Cavallo says that inlays, onlays, and fillings, will all last for a very long time. Composite fillings, in particular, are known to last for anywhere between six to eight years.
Patients should remember that there is more than one way to go about filling a cavity and removing decay, and the treatment that works best for one patient might be different from the treatment that works best for another. For more information on how to find the best treatment for your cavities, Dr. Li-Cavallo is a dentist in Tribeca who recommends contacting Bella Dental for help.
New York, NY 10013
*Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your healthcare provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with an appropriate healthcare provider.