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Inlays and Onlays

On occasion, a tooth’s decay or fracture is so extreme that a filling is not sufficient yet not extreme enough to call for a full dental crown. In cases like this, your dentist may choose to place an inlay or an onlay, a commonly used dental restoration technique that many members of the public may not know about.


Inlays, or indirect porcelain restorations, are similar to fillings but they are placed on the inside edges of the teeth. They are shaped to fit the prepared cavity and are then adhered to the tooth, sealing off chances for recurrent decay.


Onlays for teeth are a more extensive reconstruction that involves more than one tooth. Placing onlays is a more logical procedure than implanting several crowns.

Both inlays and onlays are typically fabricated from porcelain. Gold restorations have the longest history and have a sterling reputation (no pun intended). However, modern dentistry uses porcelain, resin, or other ceramics like zirconia that are more aesthetically pleasing and rival the durability of gold.

Inlays and onlays application procedures take two dental visits. At the first visit, the decay is removed, and the tooth is prepared for the inlay or onlay. The dentist makes a mold of the tooth and sends it to the dental laboratory. This lab uses the impression to construct a custom-made inlay or onlay. On the first visit, the dentist applies a temporary sealant on the tooth and schedules a second appointment for the inlay or onlay to be installed after it comes back from the lab.

Inlays and onlays are more costly than fillings, but their pros are well worth it:

  • Virtually undetectable if porcelain or resin
  • Stain resistant
  • Ideal for large cavities
  • Strong and durable

The placement of dental inlays and onlays is relatively simple. Most patients that undergo inlay/onlay work do not experience much pain. And the downtime for the procedure is virtually zero. It’s safe to return to work and other activities the same day or the next.

Our Happy Patients

"Dr. Patel and his staff were all awesome! I was living in the Lisle area for the summer from Utah and needed a lot of work done in a short amount of time. Dr Patel was always friendly and compassionate. He did a great job. I only wish he was here in Utah! Highly recommend!!"

Jade D Jade D.

"I've really enjoyed going to Dr. Patel's office since moving to the suburbs. I would recommend him to anyone. His staff is courteous and makes scheduling easy. He is complimentary, gentle, and really shows a lot of care for your dental health and smile satisfaction. After searching for a local dentist for a while, I'm very happy with my choice to go to Advanced Lisle Dental."

Korey A Korey A.

"Dr. Patel and his entire team is fabulous!!! They are knowledgeable, personable, and the medical expertise by Dr. Patel literally puts a smile on your face :) I have had a lot of dental work done and still need a lot more done and I would highly recommend Dr. Patel and his staff to family, friends, and anybody I know!"

Nadine O Nadine O.
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