Inlays & Onlays

There is a good chance you have had a cavity filled with a traditional filling. But what happens if the damage to your tooth requires a filling so large that it could weaken the remaining tooth? That’s just one of the situations where restorative dentistry procedures, such as inlays and onlays, are used to save the tooth. Teeth restoration has two goals; first prevent further decay and second, bring back your smile. Inlays and onlays are used in situations where the damage to the tooth requires a more extensive approach than a traditional filling.

At Eaves Dental, we will evaluate your damaged tooth to determine if an inlay or an onlay is the right type of cosmetic dental surgery to repair your tooth. We consider numerous factors and explain all the details so you feel confident with the teeth restoration.

Common questions about inlays and onlays

What is an inlay?

An inlay is a pre-molded filling that goes inside the tooth, much like a traditional filling. The difference is that the dentist takes an impression of your damaged tooth and sends it out to a lab where the inlay is made. The inlay is made from either porcelain or composite resin that’s selected to match the color or your tooth.

How is an inlay attached to my tooth?

It’s similar to how a dentist attaches a traditional filling; the area around your tooth is numbed using a local anesthetic and the dentist drills the tooth to remove and clean out the decay in the tooth. The inlay is then inserted into your tooth.

What is an onlay?

An onlay is used when the tooth has damage to the cusp or tip of the tooth. Just like when an inlay is made, the dentist takes impression of the tooth and send it to a lab to create a custom made onlay for your tooth. It’s also made from porcelain or composite resin to match your existing teeth.

What’s the difference between an inlay, onlay and a crown?

The determining factor on which is the best way to restore the tooth is the amount of damage to the tooth. If there is extensive damage, then a crown is necessary to completely cover the tooth. The dentist can use an inlay or onlay when the tooth structure is still healthy and the entire tooth does not have to be covered.

How many dentist appointments do I need for an inlay or onlay?

Typically, you will need two appointments. During the first appointment, the dentist will take impressions that are sent out to the lab. The dentist will also clean out the decay and the old filling if necessary and give you a temporary filling while the lab makes the permanent one.

How long does an inlay or onlay last?

Both are made from durable material and can last up to 30 years, which is longer than a traditional filling.