What is dental plaque?

Dental plaque is a thin layer of bacteria attached to the surface of the teeth. It interacts with various components (saliva minerals, acids that produce bacteria, etc.) and gradually hardens to form calculus or tartar.Dental calculus forms a favorable environment for the growth of bacteria that can gradually cause caries, gum recession, and gingivitis.

Calculus deposits in teeth differ from person to person and are related to their particular characteristics (saliva composition, etc.). Calculus should be removed from the teeth at the dental practice at regular intervals (every 6 months) to eliminate any risk of gingivitis or periodontitis.




Caries is the gradual decay of the tooth's surface caused by microorganisms present in the oral cavity and which have the ability to break down the carbohydrates that we ingest with the foods to produce acids that destroy the surface of the tooth. These microorganisms ("microbes") in the event of incomplete brushing and poor oral hygiene, create the dental microbial plaque on the surface of the tooth which in turn breaks down the carbohydrates producing acids. These acids destroy the enamel and the dentin thus creating dental caries. If caries is not treated in time, it gradually approaches the pulp chamber of the tooth where the pulp is located (the angioneurotic center of the tooth, destroying the dental tissues, leading to severe pain, inflammation, abscess, and finally loss of tooth.

The damage caused by caries can be restored by removing the decayed dental tissue and replacing it with some kind of filling (composite resin, amalgam). Various types of dental fillings are used in dental practice nowadays such as composite resin fillings, amalgam (“silver”) fillings, and inlays / onlays. In recent years, composite resin fillings are the most popular choice due to improvement of their mechanical properties and their excellent aesthetic performance.

Inlays and onlays have the same function as common dental fillings but are indicated in case of extensive wear due to caries or fracture.

When a large amount of dental substance has to be removed for the restoration of the posterior teeth, the simple filling approach is not effective.

In this case, depending on the amount of dental substance lost, a crown (large amount of tooth substance lost usually) or a inlay/onlay (intermediate loss of dental substance) is indicated. Inlays do not exceed the cavity preparation limits of the tooth whereas the onlay involve one or more tooth cups.

They are made from porcelain or synthetic resin and are adapted to the tooth, after having taken an impression of the prepared tooth first and then sent to the laboratory to be constructed by the dental technician. In the end the dentist applies them to the tooth to be restored and finally bonds/lutes them.

With respect to the common metal amalgam seals, the inlays/onlays have the following advantages:

  • They are more durable and longer.
  • Significantly reduce the risk of fracture of the root canal-treated tooth
  • They offer a much higher aesthetic result.

The only disadvantage compared to the simple filling is the cost.

Resin inlays/onlays are more economical than porcelain, but they are not less aesthetic or less durable. They can also be easily corrected if needed.