Inlays and Onlays


We strive to make sure that you have the best, most naturally beautiful smile possible! When you have missing or damaged teeth there are many ways we can help. One of the procedures we use to help you preserve as much of your natural tooth as possible is with ceramic inlays and onlays. 

What are dental inlays and onlays?

A far more conservative approach to tooth restoration than full crowns, dental inlays and onlays are used to repair teeth that only present a moderate to significant degree of tooth decay. They are also very helpful in repairing cracked teeth that have experienced damage too large to repair with a regular filling.

In most cases, our dentists will use composite resin and porcelain to create dental inlays and onlays.

What is the difference between a crown, a filling, and dental inlays and onlays?

There are many different kinds of procedures that can be used to repair damaged or cracked teeth. After a thorough exam, your dentist will recommend the best course of treatment for you.

While there are many similarities in the procedures and their outcomes, there are a number of key factors that the dentist will use in making the recommendation.

  • Fillings are the most basic dental restoration treatment that is performed on a damaged tooth. Fillings work best when the damage is discovered early. The decay is drilled out of the tooth, then the open area is filled with a composite material to match the color of the tooth.
  • Dental inlays are used if a cavity is too big for a simple filling. Inlays are created as a whole piece that is crafted to fit the specific size and shape of the cavity. Once filled properly, the dental inlay is cemented directly to the tooth.
  • Dental onlays are generally more extensive than dental inlays, but less intensive than a crown. Much like an inlay, onlays are crafted as a single piece to cover the entire tooth.
  • Finally, dental crowns are closer to a full replacement for a tooth, rather than a cover. Once the decay is removed, the tooth is capped, or crowned, covering and protecting the entire tooth. 

What is the procedure for dental inlays and onlays?

The procedure for dental inlays and onlays generally takes two visits. During the first visit, the area of the tooth is prepared, removing any damaged or decayed area, as well as removing any remaining fillings or other materials. An impression of the tooth is taken so that the lab can craft the inlay or onlay for a perfect fit. A temporary filling is put in place to protect the tooth until the second visit.

At the second visit, the temporary filling is removed, the tooth is cleaned, and your new inlay or onlay is installed. Once the fit is verified and bonded into place, you are on your way with a new and improved great smile!

Give us a call today to see how we can help you achieve your best look!