Dental inlays help in tooth restoration. This is the simplest way to tell about dental inlays. But that is not enough. To know what are the advantages and disadvantages of such procedures and materials, one must have a better look at what dental inlays really are.
What are Dental Inlays?
Use of dental inlays fall into the category of indirect restoration of tooth. Sometimes putting a cap on a damaged tooth becomes extremely difficult due to the structural damage suffered by the tooth. In such cases direct restoration of the teeth with any composite can compromise the tooth itself or create problem in biting. So dentists resort to indirect restoration with dental inlays. These tiny sculpted pieces sit snugly on the tooth to finish it off perfectly as good and perfect tooth.
Benefits of Dental Inlays
It is not for any reason that dental inlays are becoming popular day by day among both the dentists and their patients.
One of the major advantages of dental inlays is of cosmetic reasons. The inlays are made from materials which very closely resemble the looks of a natural tooth. In fact the colors for such materials come in almost all possible shades that human tooth can be of. This gives the teeth a natural look and even if the mouth is opened wide, the inlays remain almost invisible. Moreover, unlike crowns which tend to change color over time, the inlays can remain as it is over a long time if properely cared for.
Ease of Treatment
This is a great advantage for the patients. While treating for dental inlays the removal of the healthy portions of the tooth structure can be kept at minimum. This not only saves much of the healthy tooth but the procedure can also be done within a shorter time.
Non-Reactive to Temperature
Dental inlays do not react to temperature. Thus, unlike metal inlays there is hardly any chance of contraction and expansion. Such expansion and contraction can do some damage to the teeth in the long run including fracturing.
Ease of Use
This is probably the greatest advantage of dental inlays. Since the teeth are restored to almost normal looks and condition as the inlays fit seamlessly on the tooth, it is easy to take care of these. Simple dental hygiene and routine check-ups can prove enough for long life of these dental inlays. So you can brush it and floss around the teeth quite normally. In case of crowns and filings, these methods of tooth cleaning are not that easy to perform.
Disadvantages of Dental Inlays
Like all good things there are some things bad that cannot be avoided. All one needs to do is to compare the advantages and disadvantages to finally decide.
Unlike normal fillings, the cost of the procedure for dental inlays is often more. And that too cannot always ensure that the inlays will last much longer than the fillings. Similarly on the categories of aesthetics and functionality, it cannot be guaranteed that the dental inlays will always score over fillings.
Durability and Safety
In some cases the tooth inlays may fall off or get broken. In such cases the procedure may need to be repeated once again at the same or higher cost. In some cases the inlays can interfere with the structure of the tooth and can be responsible for tooth fracture.
Leakage and Tooth Health
Over time the inlays may leak like any other dental restoration methods. This happens when micro-leaks appear in the areas where the normal tooth and the inlays join. Such leakage can cause new cases of decay. So maintaining an excellent oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups is very important while on dental inlays.
Apart from these there are the normal problems and risks that are associated with all types of restorative dental procedure. The preparation of the teeth for dental inlays can cause some amount of pain during and after the procedure. Temporarily, the patient may suffer from sensitivity from cold and heat and may face problem with biting. Temporary inflammation of the pulp may occur.
In case it recurs then dental inlays will be of no use and complete endo-dontic procedures like root-canal therapy may be needed. Finally, like all other procedures, this procedure too will have the chances of infecting the tooth or the gum tissue surrounding it. However, the last condition is always kept in mind by the dentists and they take adequate precaution before any procedure.