Inlays and onlays are two types of indirect fillings. An inlay is used to restore decayed or damaged tissue in the center of the tooth, while an onlay is used to restore both the center of the tooth as well as one or more of the tooth’s cusps, or points. They are known as indirect fillings because they are fabricated outside of the mouth in a dental laboratory and then bonded in place. Inlays and onlays can be used in lieu of composite fillings or they can be used as a conservative alternative to a dental crown.

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By fabricating dental inlays and onlays in a dental lab, they are designed to preserve as much of the natural tooth structure as possible. This helps the tooth to be functional for longer and even strengthens the entire tooth.

Frequently Asked Questions:


You may be a candidate for an inlay if you have damage or decay that spans across the center of your tooth or in between two teeth. Candidates for onlays are individuals who have decay that spans across the center of the tooth and up into one or more of the tooth’s points. Onlays are also recommended for those with weak areas in their teeth. To find out if you are an ideal candidate for an inlay or onlay, schedule a consultation with Dr. Alina Huang DDS at your Midtown Manhattan dental office today.


Dental inlays and onlays are placed over the span of two dental appointments because they are fabricated by a dental lab. During the first appointment, your dentist will anesthetize your mouth and then remove any decayed or damaged tissue. They will then take a dental impression or oral scan of your mouth to obtain the information necessary to fabricate your custom restoration. While you wait for your permanent restoration, your dentist will place a temporary restoration to protect your tooth.

They will also discuss your options in terms of dental materials. Inlays and onlays can be fabricated from gold, porcelain, or resin. Gold is highly durable, porcelain is highly aesthetic, and resin tends to work well for people who grind their teeth or have misaligned bites.

In about 1-2 weeks, you will return to Glow Dental for your second appointment. Your dentist will first remove your temporary restoration. Then, they will check the fit of your new restoration, as well as your bite to ensure everything is correct. Finally, they will bond the restoration in place and polish the margins.


Until you have your permanent restoration placed, you will need to take special care not to break or dislodge your temporary restoration. During the time before your first and second appointments, it is recommended that you chew on the opposite side of your mouth and avoid foods that are excessively hard, chewy, crunchy, or sticky. This is because temporary restorations lack the same strength as permanent restorations.

Once your permanent restoration has been placed, you can resume your normal diet and activities. To care for your inlay or onlay, you will simply need to maintain good oral hygiene, schedule regular dental exams and teeth cleanings, and avoid habits that can damage your teeth.


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