Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and 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.

Benefits of Dental Inlays and Onlays:
  • Increase the strength of a tooth with respect to fillings
  • Alternative to an crown when teeth damage is not extensive
  • Porcelain inlays/onlays does not change color over time
  • Gives better esthetic appearance compared amalgam fillings
Types of Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and onlays can be made of porcelain, gold, or composite resin. Porcelain inlays mimic enamel's translucency and color, making them attractive choices for patients. Gold alloy inlays and onlays possess greater durability.

The porcelain inlays and onlays used at Dental4U Aesthetic clinic include the IPS Empress system and the new e-max crowns from Ivoclar Vivadent, Procera Nobel Esthetics from Nobel Biocare, and Cercon Smart Ceramic (Zirconium Crown) from Dentsply.

Procedure for Dental Inlays and Onlays Treatment

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.

Recovery Expectations

Having inlays or onlays is similar to having fillings done but inlays and onlays tend to be better strength and durability than fillings. There should be little or no sensitivity in teeth. 

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 cleanings