What are Dental Inlays and Onlays?

Dental inlays and onlays are restorations used to repair rear teeth with mild to moderate decay or cracked and fractured teeth that are not sufficiently damaged to need a crown.

Ideal candidates for inlay or onlay work typically have too much damage or decay in the tooth structure to be successfully treated using a filling, but have sufficient healthy tooth remaining to avoid the need for a crown. This allows the dentist to conserve more of the patient’s original tooth structure.

Benefits of Dental Inlays and Onlays

There are other benefits to inlays and onlays in comparison to metal fillings:

  1. Inlays and onlays are durable — they’re made from tough, hard-wearing materials which last up to 30 years.
  2. They help to strengthen teeth by up to 75 percent, unlike traditional metal fillings which can actually reduce the strength of the teeth by up to 50 percent.
  3. Inlays and onlays prolong tooth life and prevent the need for more dental treatment in the future.

Dental inlays and onlays are used when old fillings need to be removed or replaced. A dental inlay is similar to a filling and fits inside the cusp tips (top edges) of the tooth. A dental onlay is more extensive and extends over the cusps of the treated tooth.