Dental Inlays and Onlays

I have been asked many times what is inlay/onlay.

Patients are familiar with a crown (also known as a cap) and a filling, because they are most common restorations used in today’s dentistry. Inlay and onlay restorations are not used as widely, but nevertheless they are very helpful and much more conservative, i.e. requiring less reduction of the tooth than a full crown. This type of restoration is much more technically demanding, so not all the doctors are willing to spend more time to learn and utilize it.

A name inlay was most likely derived from a furniture business, where a craftsman would inlay a piece of one type of wood over another. Onlay is obviously is a similar restoration, but covering a bigger surface area, i.e. treating a bigger damage of the tooth. Indications for the use of inlays are very large old braking silver fillings, large cavities. Onlays are more indicated for a tooth with a broken cusp, larger decay, involving a loss of a big chank of the tooth.

Whatever restoration you choose, my strong recommendation is to be treated by the doctor who is well experienced and dedicated to your health.