Inlays & Onlays

When more than half of the tooth’s biting surface is damaged, a dentist will often use an inlay or onlay.

What are inlays and onlays?

Inlays and onlays can be made of porcelain, gold, or composite resin. These pieces are bonded to the damaged area of the tooth. An inlay, which is similar to a filling, is used inside the cusp tips of the tooth. An onlay is a more substantial reconstruction, similar to the inlay but extending out over one or more of the cusps of the tooth.

Traditionally, gold has been the material of choice for inlays and onlays. In recent years, however, porcelain has become increasingly popular due to its strength and color, which can potentially match the natural color of your teeth.

How are inlays and onlays applied?

Inlays and onlays require one appointment to complete the procedure. During the visit, the filling being replaced or the damaged or decaying area of the tooth is removed, and the tooth is prepared for the inlay or onlay. To ensure proper fit and bite, a digital scan of the tooth is made by the dentist, and milled/fabricated in-house. 

Once fabricated and glazed, the onlay/inlay is cemented in place and polished.

Considerations for inlays and onlays

Traditional fillings can reduce the strength of a natural tooth by up to 50 percent. As an alternative, inlays and onlays, which are bonded directly onto the tooth using special high-strength resins, can actually increase the strength of a tooth by up to 75 percent. This allows the dentist to retain as much healthy enamel as possible.  As a result, they can last from 10 to 30 years. In some cases, where the damage to the tooth is not extensive enough to merit an entire crown, onlays can provide a very good alternative.

Dr. Sophya N. Morghem, MS

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Our Latest Patient Testimonial

I always get the best customer service when I go to the dentist! I went in for a cleaning and they had already blocked out time to put in a permanent onlay just in case I had time (had a root canal yesterday). I always feel well cared for and if I have an emergency, I can usually get seen right away.

- Carla O

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Our Latest Patient Testimonial

Great experience! It is so convenient to be able to leave same day with my crown and onlays! Josh is a great assistant to Dr. Morghem. They made me feel comfortable throughout the entire visit!

- Ben H

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