Dental Inlays For Tooth Emergencies: What You Need To Know

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Even when you are as careful as possible, there is always a chance you can suffer a dental emergency. Whether you injure your teeth playing sports, during a trip and fall accident, or if you bite incorrectly on your fork, you can damage your teeth. If you break or crack a tooth, you need to get it checked out as soon as possible to prevent further damage. To fix your damaged tooth, the dentist may suggest a dental inlay. Here is what you need to know.

What Are Dental Inlays?

A dental inlay is similar to a filling. A filling is a substance that is poured into the hole left after the dentist drills the area to remove the decay. An inlay is different in that it is a device that is fabricated in a lab. The inlay is placed into grooves in the teeth and is commonly used to repair damage in the middle of the tooth.

Why Are Dental Inlays Used in Emergencies?

When you damage a tooth, the dentist can place an inlay to repair the tooth instead of a filling in several circumstances. An inlay can repair a break or fracture in the middle of a tooth as long as the break is not impacting the edge of the tooth. For serious dental injuries, a regular filling may not be strong enough, which is why dentists prefer to make the repair with a stronger dental inlay. Inlays are also used when a crown cannot be mounted. For example, if you break off most of the tooth, a crown has nothing left to mount to.

How Is a Dental Inlay Placed?

To begin the process, the dentist will numb the area so you do not feel any pain. The tooth is then drilled to remove any decay if the damage was caused by a large cavity that caused the tooth to break. The dentist may also drill the area to even out the surface of the tooth to allow the inlay to fit better. After the tooth is prepared, they will then make an impression of the tooth to ensure the inlay fits properly to the rest of the tooth. Dental inlays are made from either porcelain or composite resin. If your dentist has an in-house lab, the inlay can be made the same day as it is placed. Once the inlay is constructed, it is then placed on the tooth much in the same way a crown, bridge, or other types of orthodontia is attached. 

If you've damaged a tooth and suspect you need an inlay, reach out to an emergency dentist.