Patient Services

Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and Onlays
Call for a free consultation

Inlays and onlays are often used to restore teeth that have been damaged by decay or wear. Inlays and onlays are typically placed on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth or molars. These durable fillings are often used when the amount of lost tooth structure is more than what a regular filling can replace but less than what you would need a crown to repair.

An inlay fits within the contours of a tooth, in an area that the dentist has prepared.

An onlay covers the biting surface and one or more cusps (the peaks of the tooth). An onlay may be used to provide extensive coverage for a tooth that has little tooth structure. An onlay is sometimes used to help protect from possible fracture a tooth that has had root canal therapy or one that sports a worn filling.

Inlays and onlays usually require two or more visits. Bel Air Dental Care prepares the tooth during the first visit by removing the tooth decay and or existing filling. An impression is made of the prepared tooth, the opposing teeth and the bite.

From the impression, a model or mold is made in a dental laboratory. The mold is used for the preparation of the final inlay or onlay.

A temporary filling protects the tooth until the next visit when it is removed and Bel Air Dental Care places the permanent restoration. During that visit, Bel Air Dental Care checks the restoration for fit. Finishing, adjusting the bite for comfort and a final polishing may also be done then.


Like all dental restorations, inlays and onlays are subjected to heavy chewing pressure. Bel Air Dental Care chooses a suitable material to withstand this pressure. A mixture of metals (called an alloy) may be used. The restoration may be gold or a ceramic material that is tooth colored to match the adjacent teeth. Bel Air Dental Care may suggest a tooth-colored inlay or onlay for a tooth that is visible and toward the front of the mouth.