Dental Inlays & Onlays – Differences, Procedure, & More

The 2 conservative methods of restoring normal tooth structure after decay or damage are inlays and onlays.

Dental Inlays

A dental inlay is suitable for replacing the tooth structure within the cusp tips of the tooth.

What Dental Inlays Do

Dental inlays are made of tooth colored porcelain or composite resin which is used to repair the chewing surface of the tooth.

Creating Your Dental Inlay

Dental inlays are created in the lab after the dentist takes the impression of your teeth/tooth. The dentist will give temporary restoration and permanent inlays are fixed in the 2nd visit.

Dental Inlays in Just One-Visit

Today, dental inlays can be created in one visit because the dentist mills your porcelain dental inlays on site. They cement them in a single visit.

Porcelain Inlays versus Metal Fillings

With porcelain inlays, teeth become stronger and look natural. They do not contract or expand with hot and cold foods. Inlays are durable and fit perfectly.

Metal fillings weaken the tooth structure and are not durable also.

Caring for your Inlays

Dental inlays also require the same care just as your natural teeth. Maintain good oral hygiene and visit the dentist regularly.

Dental Onlays

If the damage is more extensive, dental onlay is required to cover the entire chewing surface.

A Dental Onlay can replace a Traditional Dental Filling

Dental only is custom-made in a dental laboratory and then bonded to a damaged tooth.

The Dental Onlay Procedure

These can be made from various materials- porcelain, gold and resin. The difference is in their appearance which requires generally 2 visits.

The dentist will take the impressions of your teeth and then the lab will prepare.


The material should be used on the basis of dental onlays location.

Other Benefits of Onlays

  • Easy to clean
  • Does not discolor and shrink
  • Preserves natural tooth
  • Strong and stable

Onlays are an Alternative to Crowns

It is not an expensive process and helps in saving your healthy tooth. It is a great option if you have mild to moderate tooth decay. This is an alternative to a full coverage crown.

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