Dental Inlay and Onlay

Dental Inalys and Onlays are indirect restorations (out of the mouth) used to repair premolars or molars teeth that have a mild to moderate amount of damage. Inlays and onlays are usually made from porcelain, composite resin, and sometimes even from metal.


Dental inlay

Dental inlays are used to restore teeth that have decay or damage lying within their indented top surfaces.
Sometimes, a tooth is treatment planned to be restored with an intracoronal restoration, but the decay or fracture is so extensive that a direct restoration, such as amalgam or composite, would compromise the structural integrity of the restored tooth by possibly undermining the remaining tooth structure or providing substandard opposition to occlusal (i.e. biting) forces. The superiority of an inlay as a restoration in terms of resistance to occlusal forces, protection against recurrent decay, precision of fabrication, marginal integrity, proper contouring for gingival (tissue) health, ease of cleansing and many other aspects of restorative quality offers an excellent alternative to the direct restoration. For this reason, some patients request inlay restorations so they can benefit from its wide range of advantages even when an amalgam or composite will suffice. The only true disadvantage of an inlay is the higher cost.

Dental Onlay

Dental Onlay are used to restore teeth that have decay or damage extends to one or more of the cusps.
Additionally, when decay or fracture incorporate areas of a tooth that make amalgam or composite restorations essentially inadequate, such as cuspal fracture or remaining tooth structure that undermines perimeter walls of a tooth, an "onlay" might be indicated. Similar to an inlay, an onlay is an indirect restoration which incorporates a cusp or cusps by covering or onlaying the missing cusps. All of the benefits of an inlay are present in the onlay restoration. The onlay allows for conservation of tooth structure when the only other alternative is to totally eliminate cusps and perimeter walls for restoration with a crown. Just as inlays, onlays are fabricated outside of the mouth and are typically made out of composite resin, porcelain or metals.

Duration of treatment for Inlay or Onlay

1st Appointment (Day 1, 1 hour) 

  • Shape the tooth for an Inlay/Onlay
  • Select the color
  • Mold the tooth
  • Temporarily cover the tooth by a temporary filling Working time in the lab for a permanent Inlay/Onlay

* Working time in the lab for a permanent Inlay/Onlay

2nd Appointment (Day 3, 30 minutes)

  • Remove a temporary filling
  • Try in an Inlay/Onlay
  • Fitting of a permanent Inlay/Onlay