Dental Inlays and Onlys provided by Rooted Dental Chicago Lincoln Park 60657

Inlays and Onlays

In dentistry, protecting our teeth structure should be our top most priority. Inlays and onlays are very common restoration techniques which are used to help with broken, damaged or decayed teeth. This technique provides a midway between direct fillings and treatments like crown.

This treatment provides reliable restoration to the teeth while ensuring that the natural teeth structure is intact.

If you have a cavity in your teeth or have a broken or decayed tooth, you definitely should consult a dentist but personal research is also something important. So if you’re looking for which treatment you should go for, you’re at the right place.

In this guide, we are going to study in depth about inlays, onlays, their pros and cons, cost, material and all about the procedure.

What are Dental Inlays and Onlays?

Dental Inlays and onlays are restoration treatments which are more reliable and durable than fillings and less aggressive than a treatment like crown. This treatment can be designed according to your need to fix only the damaged or decayed part of the teeth. They make damaged teeth usable again for people.

Here’s the basic definition of inlays and onlays.

Dental Inlays

They are custom made to fill into the damaged part of your teeth. Inlays are very strong and are considered as a better option than fillings.

Inlays are made of materials like gold, ceramic, porcelain or composite resin. They are used to restore your teeth when the damage is only limited to the central portion of the teeth and is not extended to the cusps.

Inlays are restorations which are fabricated in laboratories and then put into the prepared cavity of a teeth.

Dental Onlays

Onlays are used to cover a larger portion than inlays such as one or more decayed cusps. They provide coverage on a larger area and provide more support.

They are used in situations when merely a filling is not enough to prevent the teeth from falling off. They are used as an intermediate between inlays and a dental crown. They are also put into the teeth once fabricated in a laboratory, like inlays.

Initially, they were just made of metals but now can be made from composite resin and porcelain material. An onlay is also known as a partial crown as a crown is used to cover your entire tooth whereas onlays covers less than a crown. But an onlay is bigger than an inlay.

However, the choice of the material for inlays and onlays completely depends on the choice of the patient, their aesthetic, budget and location of the damage. Different materials serve different purposes.

These restoration treatments serve many benefits in comparison to those traditional methods.

What is the Difference Between Inlays and Onlays?

The paramount difference between these restoration techniques is the location of their placement.

Inlays are used to restore when the damage is only limited to the central area of the teeth. Whereas onlays are bigger than inlays and cover a rather significant area of your teeth, like over a cusp or more cusps. Whether you should go for inlays or onlays, it totally depends on the situation of your tooth damage.

However both of them are healthy options in comparison to the crown as it removes a large portion of your teeth whereas inlays and onlays are a conservative treatment. They restore the damage while keeping most of your natural teeth structure intact.

Pros and Cons of Inlays and Onlays

Let’s go through the pros and cons of inlays and onlays:


  • Better Performance: These treatments provide more protection to the natural structure of your teeth than any of the other basic treatments out there like fillings. Because they are bonded to your teeth, therefore they provide a lot of strength to your teeth, protecting them from further damages.
  • Longevity: If you properly follow the guidelines, then inlays and onlays can last up to a very long time in comparison to other treatments. Also they’re less open to sensitivities than any other treatment.
  • Colour Match: Inlays and onlays have a diverse variety of colours which makes it easy to match them with the colour of your teeth.



  • Expensive: They are hands down more durable and better than the basic fillings, but they’re also a little expensive as they are fabricated in a dental laboratory. So, not everyone can afford these.
  • Time-taking: As explained earlier, these restorations are custom made, therefore they require you to visit your dentist more than once to get the job done as it takes time to first prepare them and then bond them in your teeth. Whereas fillings can be done in one visit.

Inlays and Onlays Costs

The cost depends on a lot of factors such as the material, your dentist’s rates and location of the damage. Therefore we can’t give you a precise figure but we can give you a little idea.

If we talk about the material, Inlays and onlays which are made of a good quality material like porcelain, gold or zirconia cost slightly higher than other materials. So, it also depends on the kind of material you’re going for.

However, the cost of these treatments is slightly more than the cost of other restoration treatments like filling. Onlays usually cost more than inlays as they are bigger and cover a large area.

How long do Inlays and Onlays Last?

Inlays and onlays can last up to 20 to 30 years.

If you take proper care of your teeth, follow proper guidelines, take good care of your oral hygiene and be more gentle with your teeth, then you probably won’t need a replacement for up to 20 to 30 years!

It also depends upon the severity and location of your damage, also the material used for restoration. Don’t go for quantity, rather go for quality!

Is an Inlay Better than a Filling?

There are always two sides of a story!

If you want your work to be done at less cost and just one visit, then you should go for dental fillings. But mind you, it won’t last too long.

And if you’re looking for a more durable and reliable option then inlay for the win!

But it also depends upon the detail of the damage. If it’s a little decayed then it won’t require an inlay for restoration. But if the damage is big then inlay is the best option as it goes a long way and also protects your teeth from any further damage.

Inlays are needed when the cavity in your teeth is too big and cannot be fixed by a filling. Filling is just a composite material which is used to fill the cavity. If you don’t take proper care of it, you might need a refilling in a day or two.

Whereas inlay is a solid piece made up of either porcelain, gold or ceramic. It is set into the cavity precisely.

In contrast to fillings, inlays are not damaged very easily. They can last up to years and also look exactly like your very own teeth due to diverse options of colour.

What type of cement is frequently used to cement inlays and onlays?

All such restorations which are cemented into the teeth, they use bonded composite resin cement and glass ionomer cement to insert inlays and onlays into your teeth.

They are firstly fabricated in a dental lab and then cemented into your damaged area using these cements.

We hope this guide has given you all the information you’re looking for these inlays and onlays as well as cleared all your queries. Now you’re all decked up for a restoration!