What are Inlays and Onlays?

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We believe that one of our most important responsibilities to you as a dental team is to offer you a conservative approach to dental treatment. This means that we consistently strive to save as much of your natural teeth and tissues as possible during any procedure. In that spirit, we may decide to perform an inlay or onlay on patients in an effort to save organic teeth. When teeth have too much decay for a traditional filling, but not enough damage for a full crown, we’ll select an inlay/onlay to fix the tooth. Inlays and onlays are bigger than standard fillings, but smaller than crowns, and are bonded or cemented into place.

Here’s what you need to know:

Inlays and onlays are also used to replace old fillings when they are no longer in satisfactory condition. Inlays and onlays are typically made from porcelain and last anywhere from 10 to 30 years, depending on the patient. This durability makes them a very effective treatment option.

The Difference

An inlay is smaller than an onlay. An inlay is more similar to a filling and fits inside the cusp tips (top edges) of the tooth. An onlay is larger and extends over the cusps of the treated tooth.

The Treatment

Depending on the case, the treatment can take up to two appointments, each of which lasts about one hour. During the first appointment, we will apply anesthesia and remove the decay or old filling, preparing the tooth for treatment. We then take a mold of your tooth and create a temporary restoration while the inlay/onlay is crafted by the laboratory.

During the 2nd appointment, we will remove the temporary restoration and ensure that your new inlay or onlay fits perfectly and is ready to last for several years. We then bond the inlay or onlay with a resin adhesive and polish the inlay/onlay to make it as beautiful as possible.

If you have any lingering questions about dental crowns or inlays and onlays, or if you would like to schedule a dental exam, please contact our team or make an appointment. Our incredible staff will give you the best dental care possible.


Cityview Dental Arts

2232 W. Armitage Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647

(773) 278-0600
Fax: (773) 248-0666


Monday: 10:00am - 6:00pm
Tuesday: 7:00am - 3:00pm
Wednesday: Closed
Thursday: 10:00am - 6:00pm
Friday: Closed Saturday: Closed


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