A guide to dental inlay and onlay treatment in Mesa, AZ – for the long, healthy life of your treated tooth

My Time Dental Centers of Mesa, AZ, takes a particular interest in every patient. True to our focus on unhurried and personalized care, no two treatment plans look exactly alike. Treatment is often guided, at least partly, by each patient’s needs. The extent of erosion, decay, or damage to the teeth can vary significantly from one person to the next. Modern dentistry techniques, products, and technologies allow for dentists like Dr. Jeffrey Schmelter to repair teeth precisely, conservatively, and in a way that preserves natural tooth structure for lasting health, aesthetics, strength, and functionality.

Dental inlay and onlay treatment

When a natural tooth can be preserved, the idea is for us to replace only those areas of the tooth that cannot be “saved.” They may be diseased or injured beyond repair. We can quite literally prepare and shape tooth-like materials to replace those damaged tissues. Once the material is expertly applied to the treatment site, it is then placed and secured – much like how jigsaw pieces fit together to complete a puzzle. Inlays and onlays are examples of durable, cosmetic dental materials being designed and placed to repair large cavities, where fillings would be inadequate to restore the tooth. Yet, the damage they repair is such that a full-coverage crown, prepared and designed to fit over the natural tooth, is unnecessary. 

So, how do we determine if an inlay or onlay is best?

  • If during an examination, Dr. Schmelter finds that the cavity or damage to your tooth is limited to the inner surface of the tooth, an inlay may be appropriate. As described, the inlay is placed within the points (cusps) of the teeth. Inlays provide support and strength to the tooth that cannot be achieved with an extensive filling. 
  • Alternately, your dentist may find that the damage to your tooth “spills over” the points or cusps of the teeth. In these cases, a more extensive type of restoration beyond the inlay is necessary. Dental onlays, also known as partial crowns, are shaped and secured to the inner surface of the tooth as well as at least one cusp or point. 

Both of these options preserve more of the natural tooth than a conventional crown. These approaches are generally associated with less trauma to the tooth, a well-tolerated treatment, and a tooth that looks, feels, and functions like the “real thing” for a lifetime (with consistent oral care, of course!). Contact us at (623) 777-6456 to schedule your exam with Dr. Schmelter of My Time Dental Centers in Mesa, AZ.