Inlays and Onlays

Smiling Patient

For larger cavities or a tooth with decay in more than one area, an inlay or onlay may be the best restorative solution.

When a tooth has damage or decay that is too severe to be treated with a regular filling, but doesn’t need a full crown, there is another option. Inlays and onlays can restore both the appearance and the function your tooth.

An inlay sits inside the grooves that are within the cusps (points) of the tooth. An onlay, which is larger, fits within the grooves but also wraps up and over the cusps (points) covering more of the surface of the tooth.

It takes two appointments for either an inlay or onlay to be completed. The dentist will begin by cleaning any decay or removing an existing filling. You will receive anesthesia for this if necessary. Then an impression of your tooth will be made to send to the laboratory where your inlay or onlay will be created. Inlays and onlays are usually made from porcelain, which will closely match the color of the tooth. While waiting for the lab to complete your restoration, you will have a temporary to protect your tooth.

At your second appointment, the temporary will be removed and your inlay or onlay will be placed. We will check for perfect fit and then bond your restoration with a strong adhesive and polish it for a perfect finish.