Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and onlays are an ideal and natural-looking way
to restore the bite surface of a partially damaged tooth.

Made of porcelain, gold, or composite resin, inlays and onlays are bonded to the damaged area of a tooth. Similar to a filling, an inlay is placed inside the cusp tips of a damaged tooth. Onlays, on the other hand, extend over one or more cusps of a tooth. Although gold has been used for inlays and onlays, porcelain has become a popular material for inlays and onlays because it is strong and has a natural-looking color.

Inlays and onlays require two appointments:

  • During visit 1, we will:
    • Replace the filling and remove the damaged or decayed section of the tooth
    • Prepare the tooth for its inlay or onlay
    • Make an impression of the tooth to the inlay or onlay fits properly and your bite is aligned
    • Apply a temporary covering on the tooth
  • During visit 2, we will:
    • Remove the temporary covering
    • Ensure the fabricated inlay or only fit precisely
    • Bond the inlay or onlay to the tooth with a strong resin
    • Polish the inlay or onlay for a smooth, appealing result

Because traditional fillings can reduce the strength of a natural tooth as much as 50 percent, inlays and onlays offer patients an outstanding option for protecting the integrity of a damaged tooth. In some cases, inlays and onlay can increase the strength of a tooth as much as 75 percent.

Porcelain inlays and onlays can last longer than fillings — as much as 10 to 30 years in some cases. For this reason, inlays and onlays are an ideal way to restore and protect damaged teeth that do not require a crown.