Restorative Inlays & Onlays

inlaysandonlaysA more durable alternative to fillings, inlays and onlays are made of porcelain and molded perfectly to the shape of your tooth. Inlays and onlays repair the structure of a tooth after cavity removal or other procedures that compromise the tooth’s integrity, such as a root canal treatment. Because of their increased durability, inlays and onlays are usually used for back teeth where most chewing occurs.

Stronger than Composite Resin Fillings

While an inlay performs the same function as a filling and fits into the depressions of a tooth, an onlay repairs more tooth structure by laying over the cusp or edge of the tooth. Both are beneficial for patients who need more substantial reconstruction because of conditions like bruxism or TMJ disorder. Teeth grinding and clenching places constant pressure on teeth, which weakens the tooth structure. A composite resin filling is not as strong as porcelain and may not be able to hold up to such pressure; therefore, inlays and onlays are also helpful for replacing failed composite resin fillings.

Procedure for Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and onlays require two appointments to complete the procedure. During the first visit, the damaged or decaying area of the tooth is removed, and the tooth is prepared for the inlay or onlay for optimal attachment. Dr. Oliviero will take an impression of your tooth to ensure the restoration is fabricated to match your bite and facial structure. Between appointments, a temporary sealant protects the tooth from further damage or infection. At the second appointment, Dr. Oliviero replaces the temporary sealant with the durable porcelain inlay or onlay. After making adjustments so that the fit is satisfactory, the inlay or onlay will be bonded to the tooth with a strong resin and then polished.


As with all dental restorations, regular checkups and cleanings will increase the longevity of your inlay or onlay. The American Dental Association recommends scheduling checkups and cleanings every six months for optimal oral health. With proper dental care, your inlay or onlay can last for many years.