The biting surfaces of molars and premolars often have deep pits and fissures in the tooth enamel. From a functional standpoint, this helps make the teeth more efficient at chewing and grinding tough foods. Unfortunately, these deeply textured areas can also trap food particles and bacteria, fostering the formation of tooth decay.
With early detection, your dentist, Dr. [doctor_name], can often repair these occlusal cavities with onlay or inlay fillings. The significant difference between these two fillings is related to the size and location of the tooth decay.
Inlays are used to repair large cavities that are limited to the enamel on biting surface of a back tooth. Onlays are used to repair a larger area of decay that might extend from the biting surface to the sides of a back tooth.
These fillings are typically made from porcelain or gold, so they will need to be prepared at a dental lab. During the interim, Dr. [doctor_name] will apply a temporary filling to protect the healthy tooth enamel within. Once the dental lab technician has completed the inlay or onlay filling, Dr. [doctor_name] will call you back in for a second appointment to cement them into place.
If you suspect that you have a cavity in [city], [state], you should call [phone] to have it examined, treated and repaired at [practice_name].