A tooth that has become decayed will generally need to be filled, once the decay has been removed, to prevent further damage.
At the practice we use white ('composite') fillings in most instances to fill a previously decayed tooth. We can also remove any unsightly silver ('amalgam') fillings that are visible and replace them with a composite. A white filling can also be used in some circumstances to repair chipped teeth. Our team of dentists will be happy to advise on the suitability of such cosmetic dentistry treatments.
Inlays and onlays are two types of restorations that your dentist can suggest if you have a cavity in your tooth that needs to be filled. An inlay is a small filling that fits into the biting surface of a tooth while an onlay covers a larger area of the tooth and is better suited to bigger cavities. For many years, gold has been used to make inlays and onlays because it is a hard material and lasts for a long time. Nowadays, tooth-coloured porcelain is also used and gives the restored tooth a more natural look, which many patients prefer.
Inlays and onlays can be made in a dental laboratory by a technician, with the help of impressions taken of your teeth. While these are being made, you will wear a temporary filling. When your inlay or onlay is ready your dentist will glue it into place using a special adhesive, after removing the temporary filling.
Thanks to advances in digital technology (called CAD/CAM) porcelain inlays can be made at the dental practice using a special milling machine known as CEREC. This means you will need less visits to the dentist to have your tooth restored.