What are Inlays and Onlays?

Inlays are a type of porcelain filling available to fill a cavity that is cemented onto the cusp tips or the chewing surface of a single tooth, and is made with a material that matches your tooth color so that it looks natural.

Onlays are similar to inlays except they replace the entire biting surface or one or more tooth cusps, and can be an alternative to getting a crown.  

Benefits of inlays or onlays:

·         Inlays and onlays last longer than regular fillings

·         Inlays and onlays are a less expensive alternative to crowns

·         Inlays and onlays are made to fit the patient’s mouth comfortably

·         The patient won’t have to alter their oral hygiene routine


The inlay and onlay procedures will require more than one visit to Dr. Ellis. After Dr. Ellis determines if an inlay or onlay is appropriate, he will prepare the tooth and take an impression of the damaged tooth. The molded impression will then be sent to a dental laboratory, and the lab will then manufacture your inlay or onlay. If they are making an inlay, it will be made out of a porcelain material that blends well with the color of your natural teeth. If you are in need of an onlay, it will either be made of gold or porcelain. You will schedule your next appointment once the impressions are made, giving the lab time to make your inlay or onlay. During your first appointment, Dr. Ellis will make a temporary restoration that will make it so you are able to chew comfortably while waiting on your permanent inlay or onlay. At the second appointment, we will test fit your permanent inlay or onlay for fit and color match. If Dr. Ellis and you are satisfied with the permanent resoration, it will be permanently cemented in place.