Ceramic inlays are a type of dental restoration which are chosen for both aesthetics and durability. They are preferred to the traditional fillings in larger areas and many people choose to replace their amalgam (silver colored) fillings with the natural colored inlays.
What are ceramic inlays?
Inlays are made from a tough, ceramic material which resembles the natural color of your own teeth and is extremely attractive to view. An inlay is a type of material which is placed inside the surface of a decayed or damaged tooth and is seen as a good alternative to a crown. They are made from a variety of materials such as gold or ceramic and cover the top surface of a tooth.
Advantages of ceramic inlays
The main benefit is that they fit in well with the rest of your teeth. The material used is ‘tooth colored’ and has a realistic appearance which is good news from a cosmetic point of view.
Many people choose this type of inlay as a replacement for their amalgam fillings. This type of filling is unsightly and also contains mercury; therefore they prefer to have a type of filling which is hard to distinguish from the rest of their teeth.
This sometimes forms part of an overall ‘smile makeover’ in which various procedures are performed to improve the look of the teeth and as a confidence boost.
There is no risk of inlays becoming discolored over time. They are easy to clean as part of a daily dental routine and provide extra support for a tooth.
How are ceramic inlays fitted?
This procedure is the same for all types of inlays. It involves two visits to the dentist as opposed to the single visit undertaken for a standard filling.
The dentist will explain the procedure to you and will discuss the various types of materials used in inlay. These include gold, ceramic and composite resin.
The dentist will examine the affected tooth before taking an impression of this using a putty filled mould. This requires you to bite into the dental putty which leaves an imprint of the tooth which will be used to create the inlay. The inlay is fabricated at a dental laboratory. Your affected tooth will be covered with a temporary inlay (known as a ‘temp’) during this time.
On your second visit the temp is removed and replaced with your new inlay. This is secured in place with dental cement before being given a final polish.