Inlays & Onlays

When more than half of the tooth’s biting surface is damaged, a dentist will often use an inlay or onlay.

What are dental inlays and onlays?

Inlays and onlays can be made of porcelain or composite resin. These pieces are bonded to the damaged area of the tooth. An inlay, which is similar to a dental filling is used inside the cusp tips of the tooth. An onlay is a more substantial reconstruction, similar to the inlay but extending out over one or more of the cusps of the tooth.

How are inlays and onlays applied?

During the visit, the filling being replaced or the damaged or decaying area of the tooth is removed, and the tooth is prepared for the inlay or onlay. To ensure proper fit and bite, a CEREC digital scan of the tooth and bite is taken.  Dr. Haganman will then design and fabricate your restoration using CEREC technology.  This process may take between 30 and 60 minutes. Dr. Haganman will then make sure that the inlay or onlay fits correctly. If the fit is satisfactory, the inlay or onlay will be bonded to the tooth with a strong resin and polished to a smooth finish.

Considerations for Inlays and Onlays

Traditional fillings can reduce the strength of a natural tooth by up to 50 percent. As an alternative, inlays and onlays, which are bonded directly onto the tooth using special high-strength resins, can actually increase the strength of a tooth by up to 75 percent. As a result, they can last from 10 to 30 years. In some cases, where the damage to the tooth is not extensive enough to merit an entire dental crown, onlays can provide a very good alternative.