Inlays and Onlays

An Inlay or Onlay (also called Overlays) is a dental cover made of porcelain which is cemented to a tooth.  The difference between in inlay and an onlay is the amount of tooth that is covered by it. An inlay does not cover any of the cusps of the tooth whereas an overlay will cover one or more cusps of the tooth.


Both inlays and onlays are an alternative to repairing a tooth using composite fillings or silver/amalgam fillings. They make a tooth look natural and they generally last longer than a filling.


Onlays are used when tooth damage is more extensive, but not so extensive that the tooth would require a crown. In fact less tooth material has to be removed in order to place an onlay on a tooth than a crown. Therefore an onlay is a good alternative to a crown providing the tooth is not severely decayed, damaged or worn down.


What is involved in getting an inlay or onlay?

Inlays and onlays are usually made in a dental laboratory. Unlike composite fillings which are completed in one visit, overlays require minimally two appointments. During the first appointment the dentist will prepare the damaged tooth surface so that the inlay or onlay can be bonded to the tooth. Then an impression (mold) is made which is sent to a dental laboratory where the overlay is produced.  On your second appointment, once the dentist is happy with the overlays produced by the lab,  the tooth is cleaned and etched and then the porcelain overlay is cemented on.



Before Inlays

After Inlays



Irina Rodriguez, D.D.S.

(Serving Ojai, Lake Casitas, Santa Paula, Oxnard, Ventura, Carpinteria)

117 Pirie Rd., Suite A

Ojai, CA  93023

Phone: (805) 646-3700 Emergency: (805) 415-4478