Inlays and Onlays

Dental Inlays & Onlays

Dental inlays and onlays are special type of restorative dentistry used to repair fractured or cracked teeth that are not sufficiently damaged to need a dental crown or to repair and restore rear teeth with slight decay.

All those who have extensive decay or damage in the tooth structure that cannot be treated with the help of filling, but still have healthy tooth to avoid any need for the crown can get the desired results with inlay or onlay work. This allows us to conserve more of our patient’s original tooth structure and use available technology to restore their smile.

Benefits of dental inlays and onlays include:

  • More durability – They are made from hard wearing, tough materials that may last up to 30 years.
  • They strengthen teeth – Unlike metal based fillings that can reduce strength of teeth by up to 50 percent, inlays and onlays strengthen teeth by up to 75 percent.
  • Prolong life – They prolong tooth life and also prevent any need for more extensive dental treatment in the future.
  • East cleaning – This becomes possible because the fit is tailored at the edges and the preparation is minimal.
  • Better sealing – They are better at sealing out bacteria and do not stain teeth. This helps in restoring their structure for a long time.

We use dental inlays and onlys when your old filling need to be replaced or removed. Actually, a dental inlay is similar to a filling and swiftly fits inside the top edges (cusp tips) of the tooth. It is more extensive and extends over the cusps of treated tooth.

During treatment, we will remove the old fillings under local anesthesia and take impression of your tooth, which is then sent to our dental laboratory. The new inlay or onlay is then made using this mold in gold, porcelain or composite resin material. We will then cement the inlay or onlay into place at the next appointment. It seamlessly blends with the treated tooth and rest of your teeth will achieve a natural, uniform appearance.

How Are Inlays and Onlays Done?

We use two types of dental inlays and onlays: indirect and direct. Usually direct inlays and onlays are developed in our dental office and can be placed in just one visit. Indirect inlays and onlays are made in laboratory and will need two visits to place them.

The type we will use will depend on amount of tooth that’s left.

Indirect Inlays and Onlays

We will remove the decay and will then make an impression of the prepared tooth and the neighboring teeth. The prepared tooth will also get a temporary filling. We will send the impression to a laboratory which will then make the onlay or inlay.

At your second visit, we will take out the temporary filling and clean and dry your tooth. We will then cement the dental inlay or onlay to the tooth. It will then be polished. We will also shape it slightly to adjust suitably the way your teeth come together.

Our clinic also has a machine that allows us to take a picture (instead of impression) of your prepared tooth. Then a computer in our laboratory guides a machine which makes ceramic onlay, inlay or crown. This process takes around one hour. Your dental inlay or onlay can then be cemented into place on the same visit.

Direct Inlays and Onlays

We will remove the decay and will shape the tooth. Then we will put a soft material (composite resin) on the tooth. This composite resin is suitably molded to fit the tooth. This inlay is then removed and hardened in an oven. This hardened inlay is then cemented to your tooth and polished. We may shape it slightly to adjust the way your teeth come together.


Dental inlays or onlays need just flossing and brushing. It’s also necessary to maintain your regularly-scheduled teeth cleanings and exams.

At Premier Dental Care in Idaho Falls, we’re committed to providing you with one of the best dental experience in a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere, at most reasonable cost. We treat every patient at our clinic with respect, and you will feel welcome right from the start. You’re not just one patient among the crowd-you’re an individual with his or her unique dental needs, and we understand that! To schedule an appointment at our Idaho Falls, ID office, call us at (208) 522-1164 or schedule an appointment online.

Inlays / Onlays was last modified: June 1st, 2017 by Lisa Carr