Inlays and onlays are a type of indirect filling used to restore teeth that are severely damaged or decayed. Generally, when more than half of the tooth's biting surface is damaged, inlays and onlays are the recommended choice of dental restoration.
Inlays and onlays are custom made in a lab, then bonded to the damaged area of the tooth. Inlays and onlays can be made of porcelain, gold or composite resin. Porcelain is the material of choice for inlays and onlays due to its strength and color, which matches the natural color of your teeth.
Inlays (similar to dental fillings) are custom made restorations applied to the inside damaged tooth surface. Inlays are fitted to the tooth and then cemented in place to help strengthen the overall tooth structure.
Onlays (similar to dental crowns) are used to restore the outside of the tooth surface that has been severely decayed or damaged. Onlays are custom made to fit around the outside of the tooth, restoring the shape and function of the tooth. In many cases, where the damage to the tooth is not extensive enough to merit an entire crown, onlays can provide a very good alternative.