Dental Inlays and Onlays

Dental Inlays and Onlays

Breaking any part of your body is always a problem, but especially so in your tooth. Unlike other bones in your body that can heal over time, a tooth needs to be cared for immediately. Common restorations used to fix a damaged tooth are dental fillings, crowns, inlays, and onlays. The solution chosen will depend on the location and extent of the damage.

Except for fillings, these restorations all consist of some type of custom-made cover that is attached to the damaged tooth to restore it to health and protect it from further damage. They can also be used to treat tooth decay that has become too extensive for a filling to treat.

Dental fillings: commonly used to treat small cavities (tooth decay); they only fill a small portion of the biting surface of the tooth and cannot be used to treat extensive damage.

Inlays: are used to fill a larger portion of the biting surface than a filling can treat; used only within the cusp of a tooth (center)

Onlays: similar to inlays, but are used up and over the cusps (rounded ridges)

Crowns: completely cover a tooth to restore it or prevent it from breaking

Benefits of inlays and onlays

The main advantage to using inlays and onlays is that they are both effective solutions between a filling and a crown – they treat damage that fillings cannot, but do not require as much of the tooth to be removed as crowns do. Other benefits include that they:

  • Allow your tooth to withstand 50-75% more chewing pressure
  • Last longer than fillings
  • Can be made to match your natural tooth color
  • Are less expensive than crowns
  • Can sometimes be completed in one dental visit


In most cases, inlays and onlays will require two appointments to be placed. During the first visit, the affected tooth will be prepared by being cleaned of any decay and having an impression taken. The inlay or onlay will be made in a dental lab using this impression and will be placed during a second appointment.

For a one-visit process, the inlay or onlay will be created right in the dentist office using digital technology. This eliminates the waiting period, and the restoration can be placed on the tooth in one appointment.

If your tooth has become damaged from injury or tooth decay, contact Wyndam Dental Care to see if a dental inlay or onlay will be the solution to restoring it.

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