Inlays & Onlays - Phoenix

Giving Your Teeth the Protection They Need

If your tooth has suffered damage from decay or other issues, it may be too extensive to treat with a simple filling. If the damage does not warrant a full dental crown, the best treatment for restoring the tooth may be a dental inlay or onlay. Unlike fillings, which directly fill the hole left from dental decay with filling material, inlays and onlays are indirect fillings. They are fabricated in a lab and bonded to the tooth’s damaged area.

With cutting-edge dental technology and state-of-the-art equipment, AZ Family Dental serves your entire family with a full array of dental services. If your tooth has experienced damage, we will work to find a durable and natural-looking solution, which may include a dental inlay or onlay.

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What is the Difference Between Dental Inlays and Onlays?

Dental inlays and onlays share many similarities. These custom-made fillings generally consist of composite material, gold, or tooth-colored porcelain. We often use porcelain inlays and onlays at our practices in the Greater Phoenix, AZ, area, as they are highly durable and resemble your natural tooth. Both restoration options are made by a professional dental laboratory and permanently bonded onto the tooth by the dentists at AZ Family Dental. Once placed, inlays and onlays invisibly blend with your natural tooth.

While both restoration options effectively fill larger areas of decay, the major difference between dental inlays and onlays is their placement. Inlays only fill the area between the cusps — the elevated features on your back teeth. Onlays repair inside the cusp and extend over one or more sides of the tooth.

Both inlays and onlays can repair various dental issues, such as:

  • Tooth decay
  • Large cavities
  • Broken or fractured teeth
  • Fractured fillings
  • Cosmetic enhancement

How Dental Inlays and Onlays Work

One main advantage of both dental inlays and onlays is that they enable the ability to save much more of a healthy tooth than a dental crown. Although the placement procedure is similar to crown placement, less of your natural tooth structure will need removal, making it a more conservative treatment. The dentists at AZ Family Dental can help you decide which restoration option is best for your unique situation.

Both inlay and onlay procedures usually require two visits to our dental office. Your first appointment will involve cleaning out all tooth decay and taking accurate impressions of your tooth. These molds will be sent to a dental lab and used to make your custom inlay or onlay. Before leaving our office, one of our dentists will place a temporary filling to protect your tooth until your permanent restoration is ready.

On your second visit, your permanent inlay or onlay will be carefully bonded into place. Our dentist will also ensure a proper fit and comfortable bite. Inlays and onlays are long-lasting and highly durable, requiring no greater care than your natural teeth. The AZ Family Dental team will review proper hygiene instructions to ensure your new restoration lasts for years to come.

Contact Us to Learn More about Dental Inlays and Onlays in the Phoenix Area

If you would like to learn about long-lasting restorations that can preserve more of your healthy tooth material, it’s time to schedule your appointment at AZ Family Dental. We provide a wide array of expert dental services in a friendly, family-oriented environment. Contact us today to request your consultation.

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Frequently Asked Questions for Dental Inlays and Onlays

What are inlays and onlays in dentistry?

Dental inlays and onlays are indirect fillings used to fill and repair a cavity at the surface of your teeth. Inlay fillings are made from gold, porcelain, or resin and treat cavities on the surface of an infected tooth. Inlays cover the pits and fissures in between the cusps of your tooth. Onlays, on the other hand, are larger fillings designed to cover one or more tooth cusps.

How long does an inlay and onlay last?

Inlay and onlay fillers on average last 20 to 30 years when taken care of. Once they reach a certain level of wear and tear, you’ll need to make an appointment to have them replaced.

What is the disadvantage of inlays and onlays?

In comparison to traditional fillers, inlays and onlays typically cost more due to being customized in a dental lab. Likewise, they take significantly longer to prepare and install than crowns but are much less invasive.

What is the most common failure of inlays and onlays?

Fractures of the ceramic material are the most common failures of inlay and onlays. Fractures can lead to a loss of retention and chipping, decreasing effectiveness, and allowing for more plaque build-up. That said, inlays and onlays are made with sturdy material and can increase a tooth’s strength by up to 50% to 75%, making fractures an unlikely occurrence.

Can an onlay fall off?

Yes, onlays can fall off, but it’s not a common occurrence. Permanent onlays are built to be long-lasting and durable. If your onlay does fall out or becomes loose, schedule an appointment with us immediately. Our dentists can rebond the onlay to the tooth and make sure it wasn’t damaged.