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Inlays & Onlays

To repair damage to the tooth’s biting surface, rather than using a simple filling, or a crown, a dentist will often use an inlay, or an onlay. Inlays and onlays can be made from porcelain, gold, or composite or ceramic resin, although porcelain is now becoming the material of choice because of its strength and potential to match the natural color of your tooth.

An inlay is similar to a filling and lies inside the cusp tips of the tooth.

They are custom-made to fit the prepared cavity and are then cemented

into place. An onlay is a more extensive reconstruction that covers one

or more cusps of a tooth. Onlays are indicated in situations where a

substantial reconstruction is required. However, more of the tooth

structure can be conserved compared to the placement of a crown.

nlays and onlays are applied in two dental visits. At the first visit, the

old filling, or decay, is removed, and the tooth is prepared for the inlay

/ onlay. The dentist will then make an impression of the tooth, and send

this impression to a dental laboratory. This impression will be used by the

laboratory to construct a custom-made porcelain, or gold inlay / onlay.

At this time the dentist will place a temporary sealant on your tooth and

schedule a second appointment.

At the second visit, the temporary sealant is removed. Your dentist will then ensure that the inlay / onlay fits properly in the tooth and does not interfere with your bite. The inlay / onlay is then bonded into the tooth with a strong bonding resin, and polished smooth.

Porcelain Inlay or Onlay

Treatment Time

Patient Instructions

Results of Treatment

Advantages & Disadvantages of Inlays and Onlays


  • Highly esthetic

  • No metal shows

  • Strong once bonded to tooth

  • Well-sealed tooth

  • Will not stain

  • Will insulate the tooth

  • Well suited for large cavities

  • Long lasting


  • More costly than amalgam or composite

  • Can fracture

  • Takes two appointments

Before and After Dental Inlays / Dental Onlays Treatment


Benefits of Dental Inlays and Onlays:

In treating dental decay, inlays and onlays help to eliminate tooth sensitivity and eventual tooth loss. Inlays and onlays also offer the following benefits:

  • Since they can be made from tooth-colored material, including porcelain and composite resin, inlays and onlays are virtually invisible.

  • Unlike metal fillings, inlays and onlays will not expand or contract in response to temperature changes caused by hot or cold foods. This change in size can cause teeth to weaken or fracture.

  • The use of inlays and onlays requires less tooth reduction than does the use of metal fillings. This allows dentists to conserve more of a patient’s natural tooth structure in the treatment process.

  • Because of the way inlays and onlays are made, they help to strengthen teeth by up to 75 percent.

  • The durable material from which inlays and onlays are made helps them last up to 30 years, much longer than that of conventional fillings.

  • Inlays and onlays can replace silver fillings to create a healthier, more natural-looking smile.
    By saving decayed teeth, inlays and onlays prevent the need for more extensive treatment later on.

Types of Inlays and Onlays

Procedure for Dental Inlays and Onlays Treatment

The course of treatment described here is one of several options available at our dental clinic. Consult your dentist to find out what the best solution is for you, given your specific condition.

  1. First evaluation and inlays/onlays tooth preparation

  • The natural tooth is reshaped to receive the new inlay/ onlay

  • Records are taken to determine the color, ength and shape of the inlay/onlay

  • An impression of the teeth is taken for a replica model of teeth

  • This model is sent to a lab where the inlay and onlay piece is fabricated

  • The preparation site is temprorarily covered

   2. Fitting of the inlay/onlay on delivery

  • The temporary filling is removed

  • The inlay/onlay is fitted and cemented into place on the teeth

  • A quality assurance check is done for any re-adjustments or re-works of the inlay/onlay dental crowns


   3. Care of inlay/onlay

  • Brush and floss your teeth as recommended by your dentist or dental hygienist

Recovery Expectations

Care for Dental Inlays and Onlays

Simply follow good oral hygiene practices:

  • Brush at least twice a day. It is good practice to brush after eating and before bedtime.

  • Floss at least once to twice a day.

  • Rinse with fluoride rinse before bed. Swish the fluoride rinse vigorously in your mouth for at least one minute. Do not swallow any of the rinse and do not eat or drink anything for 30 minutes

  • Be careful about chewing toffees, gum, grainy rolls and tough food in this area

  • See your dentist for regular professional check-ups and cleaning

Contact us today for more information.

Click here to view some of the cosmetic dentistry treatment case studies from our clinic

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