Inlays and Onlays


Cavities come in all shapes and sizes. Small cavities are easily treated with dental fillings, while larger cavities are treated with dental crowns. What happens if your cavity is too large for a dental filling but too small for a dental crown?

At Noles Family Dental, located in Greensburg, Indiana, we often recommend inlays and onlays to our patients as a treatment option for teeth where tooth decay has caused moderate damage.

Restore and Repair Damaged Teeth With Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and onlays are very similar to dental fillings. They act as a filler for areas of the tooth that have been destroyed by dental decay. Made out of composite resin or porcelain, the inlays and onlays can strengthen damaged teeth while protecting against tooth decay.

Difference Between Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and onlays are made of the same material and perform the same function. The difference between an inlay and an onlay is the part of the tooth that is covered.

An inlay fills and treats cavities that develop in the body of the tooth or the areas between the cusps. It is designed to fit securely in a hole or crack created by the tooth decay.

An onlay covers a larger area than an inlay. It can fill in holes and damage caused by tooth decay and to treat damage to the cusps or sides of the teeth.

Inlays and Onlays Help Preserve Your Natural Teeth

It is our goal to help our patients preserve their natural teeth. By offering inlays and onlays, we are able to preserve your teeth while properly treating moderate tooth decay.

Without inlays and onlays, the only treatment option for moderate tooth decay would be dental fillings or dental crowns. Unfortunately, dental fillings are only strong enough to treat small areas of damage. On the other hand, dental crowns can treat larger areas of tooth decay but require your natural teeth to be shaved down or reshaped.

The Inlay and Onlay Procedure

Getting inlays and onlays is a two-step process. The first step of the process is treating the tooth decay and taking impressions. The second step of the process is the placement of the inlays and onlays.

At your first appointment, our dentist will carefully remove any damaged or decayed parts of the tooth. Once all the decay and damage is removed, an impression of the tooth is taken. The dental lab will use the impression to create a custom-made inlay or onlay that fits your tooth. After the impression is taken, our dentist will use a temporary filling to fill in the holes and gaps.

Your second appointment doesn’t occur until the dental lab is completely finished creating your inlay or onlay. This usually takes several weeks.
At your second appointment, the temporary filling is removed. The inlay or onlay is then placed on the tooth. Our dentist will then check that the inlay or onlay fits properly and no adjustments need to be made. If everything fits correctly, a bonding material, such as resin, is used to secure the inlay or onlay in place.

Once the inlay or onlay is secure, our dentist will check your bite, make any adjustments and then polish the area.

Contact Us to See if You Are a Good Candidate for Inlays or Onlays

Schedule an appointment at our Greensburg, Indiana dental office to see if you are a good candidate for inlays and onlays. Request an appointment by filling out our online contact form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Alternatively, you can call Noles Family Dental and speak with one of our friendly office staff who will gladly help you schedule a consultation with one of our dentists.