Find a Doctor

Advantages of Inlays and Onlays


Inlays and onlays can restore a tooth compromised by moderate decay or damage. These restorations are more comprehensive than dental fillings, but more conservative than dental crowns. There are several noteworthy advantages of inlays and onlays. These restorations can be expertly fabricated in a laboratory or milled using CAD/CAM (computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacture) technology. Using high-quality materials, inlays and onlays can be shade-matched to blend with your smile for beautiful, natural-looking results.

Conservative Restoration

Illustration of inlay, onlay, and crown

Inlays and onlays are more conservative than dental crowns, allowing your dentist to preserve more of the tooth's natural structure.

More Conservative Treatment

As compared to a dental crown, inlays and onlays require less tooth reduction. Your dentist need only remove the compromised tissue before placing the restoration. Dental crowns, on the other hand, require your dentist to remove a more significant portion of your tooth to accommodate the restoration.

Using high-quality materials, inlays and onlays can be shade-matched to blend with your smile for beautiful, natural-looking results.

Added Strength & Durability

Dental fillings are composed of either composite resin or amalgam, whereas inlays and onlays are more commonly crafted from porcelain. This durable material can strengthen a tooth by up to 75 percent and last up to 20 to 30 years with proper care. Composite resin fillings typically last just five years.

Natural-Looking Results

Inlays and onlays can replace old, worn amalgam restorations. Porcelain can be shade-matched to blend seamlessly with neighboring teeth and beautifully mimics the sheen of natural enamel. Porcelain is also stain-resistant, so you can feel confident that your restoration will remain bright and vibrant over time.

Cost Effective & Covered by Most Insurance Plans

Inlays and onlays are often covered in full or in part by dental insurance. Health savings funds may also be used to pay for additional fees. While inlays and onlays are more expensive than fillings, their longevity is a worthwhile investment. In addition, addressing dental decay or damage early on can protect your long-term oral health and the integrity of your smile.

Less Expansion, Better Margins

Amalgam fillings expand and contract with temperature fluctuations, which can cause the tooth to weaken or fracture. Small cracks and breaks can harbor bacteria and result in tooth decay. Porcelain inlays and onlays, on the other hand do change size or shape with varying temperatures. Their structure makes them a more stable solution in the long-term.

A One-Visit Procedure with CAD/CAM

Using CAD/CAM technology, your dentist can design and craft a custom inlay or onlay in a single visit. This system combines advanced computer software, a 3-D scanner, and an in-office milling unit. This means less time spent in the dentist’s chair as well as a faster, more convenient solution. Inlays and onlays require no additional downtime, so you can leave the office with fully restored dental function.

Easy Care

Daily at-home care for inlays and onlays is no different than that of healthy, natural teeth. You should brush and floss daily and visit the dentist for biannual checkups to ensure your restoration is strong and secure. Should your inlay or onlay become loose, painful, crack, or fall out completely, contact your dentist as soon as possible to schedule a visit.

Want More Information?

Contact a Doctor Near You.