Good Dentistry

Inlays and onlays

An inlay  is a filling that a dentist uses to fill in a cavity. Inlays are typically made of gold,porcelain, amalgam, or even titanium. Many people ask whether amalgam is healthy.

Amalgam contains approximately half mercury, and differing amounts of silver (30%), tin, zinc, and copper. Amalgam does not hold its shape over time and corrodes easily.  Amalgam fillings typicallylast 5-10 years. 

Some scientist were worried about the mercury in amalgam and  its poisonous effects on the human body. However, there hasn’t been enough evidence to show that amalgam is dangerous.

If you are worried, ask your doctor about any of the other materials, which are more expensive. Also, you need to come to your dentist
twice, since the inlay is prepared in a dental laboratory. At your first visit, the old filling, or decay, is removed, and the tooth is prepared for the inlay / onlay.  The dentist will then make an impression of the tooth, and send this impression to a dental laboratory.  This impression will be used by the laboratory to construct a custom-made porcelain, or gold inlay / onlay.  During your first visit your dentist will put  a temporary sealant on your tooth. The temporary sealant will prevent the tooth from getting infected or attracting bacteria.  

At your  second visit, your dentist remoes the temporary sealant.   Your dentist will then ensure that the inlay / onlay fits properly in the tooth and does not interfere with your bite.  Your dentist normally has you do some test bite on special paper that shows how well your teeth fit.
The inlay / onlay is then bonded (means glued) into the tooth with a strong bonding resin, and polished smooth so that you feel comfortable with your inlay or onlay.

Galloy is an amalgam competitor containing silver, tin, copper, indium, and gallium, and is intended to be a mercury-free alternative to amalgam. One could ask why develop a alternative to amalgam when it is supposedly safe.
The development of this brand new material  only shows, that scientist have not found anything, but the public and maybe doctors are slightly uneasy about mercury in the mouth.

Gold and titanium are of course more expensive and are used when maximum strength is required. Porcelain, due to its color,
is preferred when cosmetics is important, which means that front teeth typically are treated with porcelain, whereas molars are treated
with gold.

So now that you know how inlays and onlays work, maybe next time you have one done for yourself you will be more curious than fearful.

Click here if you are looking for a dentist in Redwood City, CA.





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