Pros and Cons of Dental Inlays and Outlays

Inlays and Onlays

Inlays – Inlays are another form of fillings. Inlays are ‘fillings’ confined within the cusp tips of the tooth and are made externally to be bonded into the cavity of the tooth. They can be made of gold, porcelain, or composite material. Inlays are designed for the repair of reasonably damaged back molars and therefore are considerably stronger than other fillings in order to withstand the forces exerted on these back teeth.

Onlays -Onlays are similar to that of Inlays with the exception that they are designed for a larger cavity and extends over the cusp tips of the tooth. Onlays are made up of the same materials as inlays and increases the strength of the tooth by embracing the tooth.

Inlays and Onlays generally take 2 appointments to complete the treatment. With the first appointment the Dentist removes the decayed area, or in some cases the old filling, and prepares the surface for the new filling. The Inlay or Onlay is made by a dental technician, which requires the dentist to take an impression to send to the technician. Once impressions are taken, the dentist will insert a temporary filling to cover/protect the surface requiring the inlay/onlay. Once the inlay/onlay is received back from the technician, who may take up to 2 weeks, a second appointment is needed for the fitting. The dentist will insure that the final product fits perfectly and the bite is correct. Once this is all confirmed the inlay/onlay is then glued in with a strong bonding adhesive material.


  • They are stronger than all other filling materials available.
  • There is a better variety of colours available in the materials used to match each individual tooth.
  • They can be more durable if looked after and are kept free from decay.
  • They can alternatives to crowns


  • They are a more costly option.
  • This procedure may require having some of the natural healthy tooth to be removed.

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