Inlay and Onlay Restorations

Dr.Alan Wishneff Boca Raton Florida Dentist Dr. Alan Wishneff D.D.S.
Restorative Dentistry / Oral Health
April 23, 2017

Dental inlays and onlays are restorations that are used to repair teeth in the rear of the mouth that have a mild to moderate amount of decay. Teeth that are cracked or fractured can be restored by using inlays or onlays, but only if the damage is not severe enough to require a dental crown. They can be made out of porcelain, composite resin and sometimes even gold. These are often used to replace metal fillings in patients that want a more natural looking smile, because they are made out of tooth-colored materials.

Dental Inlays

Dental inlays are used to treat teeth that have decay or damage that is lying within the intended top surfaces of teeth. They may also Inlay cross sectionbe used to replace old or damaged metal fillings. An inlay takes two dental appointments to be placed in. At the first appointment, an impression of the teeth is made and a temporary inlay is placed over the tooth. The impression is sent off to a dental lab where an inlay is created to match the tooth’s specifications. At the next appointment the temporary inlay is removed and the permanent one is carefully placed over the tooth. After the inlay is placed there is no downtime needed. There will only be a mild level of tenderness in the treated are, so you can resume normal activities after the procedure.

The inlays and onlays are made from durable, tooth-colored porcelain. This makes them more enduring and natural looking than metal fillings will. Also, because they are customized, a dentist can securely bond them to the tooth surface. This adds structural integrity and prevents bacteria from entering and forming cavities in the tooth.

Dental Onlays

Dental inlays are designed to treat decay within the cusps or top projections of a tooth and onlays are used to treat decay that extends to one or more of the cusps. Onlays are placed much in the same was as inlays. Impressions are made of the decayed teeth and a temporary is placed over the teeth. The dental lab will create an onlay according to the tooth’s dimensions. Once the temporary is removed the permanent restoration is placed on the tooth and securely bonded using high-strength dental resins.

Like inlays, onlays can be made from material that looks like the surrounding teeth. This will allow them to blend in with the healthier teeth in the mouth. Onlays are also able to conserve more of the tooth surface because they require a minimal amount of the tooth’s surface to be removed. When the onlay is saving the damaged teeth, it helps patients avoid the need for more extensive treatments like dental crowns, bridges or implants.


Inlays and onlays main benefit is to help eliminate tooth sensitivity and eventual tooth loss that comes with dental decay. There are many other benefits and some of them are written below.

  • Because of the tooth-colored materials used, like porcelain and composite resin, inlays and onlays are virtually invisible.
  • These do not expand or contract in response to temperature changes caused by hot or cold foods. When fillings, like metal ones, change their size, it causes the teeth to weaken or fracture.
  • It requires less tooth reduction than it would with metal fillings. This will allow dentists to conserve more of the natural tooth structure in the treatment process.
  • They help to strengthen the teeth up to 75 percent.
  • The durable material helps to make the inlays and onlays last up to 30 years, which is much longer that the regular filling material.
  • Can replace silver fillings to create a healthier, more natural looking smile.
  • Because you are saving and stopping decayed teeth from spreading, you are also preventing the need for more expensive procedures down the line.

Because of their strength, durability, and aesthetic quality, porcelain inlays and onlays are excellent solutions for larger cases of tooth decay.

For more information about this topic or any other dental topic, contact Dr.Wishneff  at [email protected]  or call (561) 488-3111Dr. Alan Wishneff is a Boca Raton Dentist dedicated to bringing patients state-of-the-art dental care. As a cosmetic, family and restorative dentist, he helps patients enjoy a natural and healthy smile. He is trained in cosmetic dentistry, including porcelain veneers; advanced cosmetic bonding techniques; oral surgery; medical emergency procedures; advanced crown and bridge; advanced TMJ; implant dentistry; endodontics-root canals: utilization of most advanced dental materials. Dr, Wishneff and staff are dedicated to providing great smiles in Boca Raton for more than 30 years. After more than two decades of practicing dentistry in Boca Raton, Dr. Wishneff is more committed than ever to this community.

Image: I, ISebestyen [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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