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Inlays and Onlays

Dental inlays and onlays are restorations used to repair or replace tooth structure. They can also be used to restore teeth that are cracked or fractured if the damage is not severe enough to merit a dental crown.


Dental inlays are used to treat teeth that have decay or damage lying within their indented biting surfaces. They can also be used to replace old or damaged fillings.

Inlay placement is usually carried out over two appointments. During your first visit, the tooth is prepared and an impression of your tooth is taken. A temporary inlay will then be placed over the tooth. The dentist will send the impression off to a dental lab, which will create the inlay to match your tooth's specifications. When you return to the dental office for your second visit the temporary inlay will be removed and the permanent one will be placed carefully and cemented over your tooth.

There is no downtime required after receiving a dental inlay, so you can return to work or other activities as soon as you leave the office.


Where as dental inlays are designed to treat decay within the cusps of a tooth, onlays are used to treat decay or fractures that extend to one or more of the outer walls of the tooth surface. Onlays are placed in much the same way as inlays.

Like dental inlays, onlays can be created from tooth-coloured material, which makes them virtually visually undetectable to the naked eye. Onlays also help to conserve more tooth structure because their use requires minimal removal of tooth structure.

Perhaps their most important benefit, however, is that, in saving damaged teeth, onlays help patients avoid the eventual need for more extensive treatment with dental crowns, dental bridges, or dental implants.

Since dental inlays and onlays can be made from durable, tooth-colored porcelain, they offer much more enduring and natural-looking results than metal fillings. In addition, their customized nature allows dentists to securely bond them to the tooth surface, adding structural integrity and preventing bacteria from forming cavities.

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