Inlays and Restoration

Where a tooth has suffered damage from decay or a fracture, there may not be enough of the tooth structure left to support a filling. If there isn’t a good reason to restore the tooth with a crown, a dental restoration such as an inlay or onlay may be used. Similar to regular fillings, inlays and onlays take care of the cavity and also hold the tooth together, making it stronger. Dental inlays and dental onlays are very similar to regular fillings and are typically made out of porcelain or composite materials to fit directly into or onto your tooth. They are created to perfectly fit your mouth and if using porcelain or composite materials, match the shade of your teeth for a natural look and finish. Dental inlays and dental onlays are very to apply.

Understanding Inlays – Onlays

An inlay sits in the grooves within the cusps of the tooth. An onlay is larger, wrapping over the cusps of the tooth to cover more of the tooth’s chewing surface. Your dentist will advise you on which should be used, based on how much of the tooth structure has been lost.

The inlay or onlay can be made from porcelain or a composite for a better cosmetic look. Otherwise gold or amalgam can be used. However, while amalgam or composite can be moulded in your mouth like a standard filling, porcelain or gold restorations are normally produced in a dental laboratory.


Before the dental restoration can begin, the tooth needs to be prepared. Any part of the tooth that is structurally unsound is removed with a dental drill, including any dental decay. A porcelain inlay or onlay will be prepared in a dental laboratory to fit into the newly created space. Some dentists may also use a Single Appointment Ceramic Restoration machine to avoid any delay. Otherwise, the dentist may rebuild and restore the tooth with composite or amalgam, which can be moulded and shaped in your mouth.

Caring for your restored tooth

Afterwards, the tooth should look and feel normal. However, it is still important to maintain good Oral Hygiene. The best way to maintain and care for your restored tooth is exactly as you would for all of your teeth; brush three times a day, floss once a day and schedule regular check-ups with your dentist.

Inlays – Onlays Costs

Inlays – Onlays costs will differ depending on the materials used and size and complexity of the treatment. Consult your dentist regarding what is required for your situation and the materials they will use.

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