Inlays and Onlays are used to repair damages rear teeth that are not damaged enough to require a crown. They can be used to fix mild to moderately decayed, fractured or cracked teeth. In some cases, inlays or onlays will be used instead of a filling for a cavity.

A dental inlay versus a dental onlay

onlay being placed on a toothAn inlay replaces a portion or a half of the molar tooth. It is fitted to match the tooth it is being added to and can be made in white or gold. An onlay replaces the entire top of the molar instead of just a half or side of it. Full onlays are made to replace the entire biting surface of the tooth.

Benefits to dental inlays and dental onlays

  • Inlays and onlays are very durable and can last for around 30 years
  • They help strengthen the teeth by 75 percent, whereas fillings only strengthen the tooth by up to 50 percent
  • Inlays and onlays prolong tooth life and prevent the need for more dental treatment

How are dental inlays and onlays made and connected to the tooth?

Dental inlays or onlays are done over the period of two treatments. During the first treatment your dentist will numb your mouth and remove the decayed or damaged portion of the tooth with a drill that will clean and prepare your tooth for the implant. Your dentist will then insert a tray with dental putty in your mouth to take a mold of the tooth. Your porcelain inlay or onlay will be made using the mold. Your dentist will also attach a temporary restoration to protect your tooth.

At the second appointment your dentist will remove your temporary restoration and bond the inlay or onlay to your tooth using a strong resin adhesive. Your dentist will then polish the tooth and make sure it fits and feels great.