Inlays and Onlays

What Are Inlays and Onlays?

A dental inlay or onlay is bigger than a filling and smaller than a crown. It is bonded or cemented into place.


An inlay is similar to a filling, but it lies within the cusps (bumps) on the chewing surface of your tooth. An onlay is larger than an inlay. It covers one or more cusps.


Inlays or onlays can be made of gold, composite resin (plastic), or ceramics. They can last for decades.


Inlays and Onlays

Why Do I Need an Inlay or Onlay?

An inlay or onlay is one way to restore a damaged or decayed tooth.

 

There are two types of inlays and onlays: direct and indirect. Direct inlays and onlays are made in the dental office. They are placed in one visit. Indirect inlays and onlays are made in a laboratory. Two visits are needed to place them.

 

The type that Dr. Giraldo will use depends on how much of the tooth is left. It also depends on how obvious the inlay or onlay will be to other people.

 

How Common Are Inlays and Onlays?

The application of inlays and onlays is a quite common procedure, particularly when damage or decay is confined to the cusps of the tooth. If a more extensive cavity is not evident, the inlay/onlay can be a more cost-effective and simpler procedure to undergo.

 

Am I a Good Candidate for Inlays or Onlays?

You will need to consult with the Dr. Giraldo in order to determine whether inlays or onlays are appropriate solutions for your particular dental condition. With very minor tooth damage, Dr. Giraldo may recommend that an inlay or onlay would be an excellent choice to repair and protect the tooth for the long term because they are more durable than fillings.

 

What Is the Procedure for Installing Inlays or Onlays?

We offer CEREC one-visit dentistry. CEREC can be used instead of traditional amalgam or composite fillings to create a smooth, tooth-colored replacement of tooth material. CEREC inlays and onlays are designed and custom fabricated using state-of-the-art CAC/CAM technology to perfectly match your tooth and bring it back to its natural strength.


Onlays are more extensive than inlays, covering one or more of the cusps on the chewing surface of the tooth, and are sometimes called partial crowns. With a CEREC onlay, you may be able to avoid the need for a full crown. However, if a full crown is indicated, a CEREC crown provides a beautiful, strong, single-visit restoration. You can avoid the impression materials, temporary crown, and return appointment associated with lab-generated restorations.

 

How Do Inlays and Onlays Compare with Other Dental Treatments?

Inlays and onlays are much less invasive compared to other dental procedures such as filling a cavity. They are also more cost-effective relative to, for example, a full cavity cleaning and filling.

 

How Soon Will I Be Able to Go Back to Work?

You can return to work immediately. There may be some minor soreness when the topical anesthetic wears off. If you have had sedation therapy, you should not drive and may wish to wait until the sedation is completely gone before returning to work (usually in few hours).