What Are Inlays And Onlays?

onlay2When you are having a problem with your tooth it is good to know there are a variety of dental procedures offered today that you may be able to choose from. Some are more complex and invasive than others, and some are less invasive. Most people probably think that there are only fillings or crowns and nothing in between. However, there are inlays and onlays which are a type of treatment that falls between a filling and a crown. What are inlays and onlays?

Inlays And Onlays

Inlays and onlays are another way to restore a decayed or damaged tooth. They are bigger than a dental filling but smaller than a dental crown. They are used for molars if the area is too large for a filling, yet not damaged enough for a crown. There are direct inlays and onlays and indirect, and they are both permanently bonded to the tooth.

Inlays: An inlay is similar to a dental filling. It is fabricated to lay in-between the cusps of your molar within the center of the tooth.

Onlays: An onlay is bigger than an inlay and it replaces the center of the tooth and one or more decayed cusps.

Direct inlays/onlays: If they are direct, they are made in the dentist’s office and can be placed in the same visit.

Indirect inlays/onlays: Indirect ones are fabricated in a dental lab and will be placed during a second visit.

More About…

Dental materials used to fabricate inlays and onlays include metal, composite resin, or porcelain ceramic. Inlays and onlays tend to be better fitting, and can last for over 10 years depending on:

  • Material choice
  • Chewing forces
  • Oral hygiene and maintenance
  • Which teeth have been treated


At A Briter Smile Dental Group, our dentists strive to offer each patient individual care and access to the latest in modern dentistry at an affordable price. If you would like to schedule a consultation, contact usat our Santa Clarita Valley office at (661) 251-0480. We also service Newhall, Castaic, Canyon Country, Saugus, and nearby areas.