Understanding Inlays and Onlays


Inlays and onlays are pre-made fillings that can be attached to the top of a tooth. Both are designed to sit on the chewing surface of a back tooth or molar. While inlays rest between the cusps (or ridges) of the teeth, onlays include one or more ridges. Both types of restorations are created in a dental laboratory based on the specific shape of your tooth. Your dentist will then prepare your tooth and bond the inlay or onlay to the tooth for a secure fit.

When Are Inlays and Onlays Used?


When tooth decay or tooth damage occur, inlays or onlays may be required to restore a tooth and protect it. If a tooth needs extra strength, we may recommend inlays and onlays, because they are known to improve strength. The process used to place inlays is similar to having a dental crown placed. Two appointments will be necessary. In the first, we will prepare the tooth and take impressions of your tooth to send to the lab so the inlay or onlay can be made. Then, you’ll come back in so we can secure the inlay or onlay to the tooth.

Review Your Options with Our Experienced Dentist


Our dentists may recommend inlays or onlays for several reasons. When large fillings are needed, they may be more effective in supporting the structure of the tooth. They can also be useful for replacing large or old fillings.  However, we may also offer you multiple options, such as fillings, dental bonding, or crowns—it all depends on what your specific situation is.