The conservative dentistry advantage, inlays, and onlays preserve the utmost tooth structure for lasting satisfaction
Dr. Alonzo Bell and our team at The Bell Dental Group have many ways to rebuild damaged, broken, and weakened teeth in Alexandria, Virginia. We generally recommend the most conservative option, as long as that treatment remains in the patient’s best interests by resolving the underlying condition in the shorter term and supporting their overall health and well-being in the long term.
Dental restorations present a category of services or opportunities to rebuild portions of failing teeth. We’ve listed these restorations available at our office, from most to least conservative:
- Dental fillings
- Dental inlays
- Dental onlays (or “partial crowns”)
- Dental crowns (or “full crowns”)
By placing dental restorations, lost or deficient tissues are reconstructed. The need for aggressive, invasive, time-consuming, and costly extractions followed by tooth replacement is furthermore avoided. Generally, the more conservative the restoration, the less the affected tooth structure and tissues are altered and removed during the process of repairing and strengthening the tooth. These procedures are less invasive and promote greater satisfaction because tooth-preserving techniques support the restored tooth’s long-term durability and healthy function.
Conservative restorations also support optimal aesthetics. They tend to look natural because a maximum amount of the natural tooth structure is preserved, and the artificial structure blends seamlessly with the surrounding tooth.
Are inlays and onlays in your future?
Dr. Bell works with you to determine if you are best suited to benefit from a filling, inlay, onlay, or crown. He uses both considerable know-how and advanced diagnostics to evaluate the condition of your mouth. For patients with early-stage decay or enamel erosion, restorations may even be avoided entirely! In these cases, recommendations might include professional preventive services such as fluoride therapy to remineralize weakened teeth.
Generally, the best candidates for inlays may have large cavities that would require a big filling. Or these patients may have a very old, worn-down, or large filling that should be replaced. Since there is less structure for the filling material to hold on to, bigger fillings are more vulnerable to future breakage. Those who are well-suited to onlays essentially have more significant damage to their teeth than those patients whose teeth may be appropriately treated with inlays.
Inlays restore teeth whose damage is limited to the chewing surfaces. Conversely, onlays fix teeth with damage to both the chewing surfaces and at least one of the high points (tips or cusps) of each tooth.
Like other types of restorations, both onlays and inlays can be made from different dental materials. These materials include ceramics and composite resin, a mixture of plastic and fillers like finely-ground glass particles. Dental ceramics and composites may be attractive for patients who are concerned about the aesthetics of their treated teeth, especially if those teeth are easily seen in the mouth when they smile.
The Bell Dental Group looks forward to discussing our many alternatives to bring back your smile’s natural beauty, vibrancy, and healthy function. Call our office in Alexandria, VA, today at (571) 349-8027 to schedule your consultation.