Inlays, Onlays, and Dental Crowns

When a tooth is too damaged for a tooth-colored filling, at Smiles 4 Grant Park in Atlanta, GA, we provide inlays, onlays, or dental crowns as successful alternatives to repairing a smile. Each device is custom-made to cover the compromised tooth to restore its structural integrity and prevent further damage from occurring. Dr. Abbey J. Lee will recommend these restorative dentistry procedures when more than 50% of a tooth is impaired. During your consultation, Dr. Lee will perform a thorough evaluation with state-of-the-art technology to locate the extent of damage and recommend the best restoration for you.

What Are Inlays and Onlays?

Inlays and onlays are designed to repair back teeth (molars) with moderate damage, such as decay or small cracks on the biting surface (cusps) of a tooth. Each molar has anywhere from four to five cusps, designed to assist patients in sufficiently chewing food. When a tooth is damaged or decayed, it can cause tooth pain or extreme dental sensitivity, and if left untreated, can lead to more serious health issues.

An inlay or onlay can be fabricated from a variety of materials, such as composite resin, porcelain, or gold. Composite resin and porcelain provide stability without disturbing the natural aesthetics of your smile. The type of restoration required will depend on the location of the damage. An inlay is similar in function to a tooth-colored filling, but provides more coverage within the cusps of a tooth. When damage extends beyond more than one cusp, an onlay is chosen for additional support.

What is a Dental Crown?

A dental crown restores and strengthens a tooth that has been severely compromised as a result of:

  • Severe decay
  • Severe dental stains or discoloration
  • Fractures
  • Teeth grinding
  • Tooth loss
This restorative procedure can completely cover the impaired tooth or be combined with a dental implant to replace a missing tooth. There are a variety of materials that Dr. Lee provides to customize your restoration, including:

  • Porcelain: As the most realistic option, porcelain crowns are fabricated to match the natural color of surrounding teeth and provide a durable solution for patients who struggle with metal allergies. This type of crown is often chosen for teeth visibly seen when smiling or talking.
  • Porcelain-Fused-to-Metal: As the name implies, porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns are metal crowns covered with a thin layer of porcelain to provide the durability of a metal crown but the natural aesthetics of a porcelain crown. This type of crown is ideal for back molars.
  • Gold: Strong and long-lasting, gold crowns are made from a combination of metals, including, nickel, chromium, or gold. Because they are dark in color, this type of crown is typically chosen for less noticeable teeth in the back of the mouth that need a high level of durability.

What to Expect During the Procedure

During your consultation, Dr. Lee will perform a series of x-rays to determine the type of restoration necessary. She will then numb the tooth and surrounding tissues with a local anesthetic. If you have difficulty numbing or struggle with dental phobia, she can provide nitrous oxide or oral conscious sedation to make you more comfortable.

Once you are comfortable, Dr. Lee will gently remove any unhealthy bacteria and gently reshape the tooth. Digital impressions will be then be taken of your smile and sent to a quality dental lab where highly trained technicians will fabricate your customized restoration. For patients who only require a composite resin inlay or onlay, Dr. Lee can provide same-day results. Custom-made inlays, onlays, or dental crowns can take anywhere from one to two weeks to design. If necessary, Dr. Lee can provide you with a temporary crown to protect your natural tooth and prevent dental sensitivity.

At your follow-up appointment, Dr. Lee will remove the temporary crown, check that the newly designed restoration fits properly, and make any necessary modifications. She will then bond the restoration to your natural tooth with dental cement to provide a durable hold and refurbished smile.

Schedule Your Consultation

If you have a severely damaged tooth and are struggling with dental sensitivity and pain, contact our dental practice today online or by calling 404.328.7177 to schedule your consultation with Dr. Lee.
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