Inlays and Onlays

Replacing large fillings in back teeth often requires stronger, more precisely contoured restorations. These are called inlays or onlays depending on whether they are being placed inside the tooth or on its outer surface. They may also be called partial crowns. Inlay or onlay restorations are custom-fit and they are made of composite material, gold, or tooth-colored porcelain. An inlay or onlay is more conservative than crowns in repairing teeth that have large defective fillings, or have been damaged by decay or trauma, because less tooth structure is removed during the preparation stage. They are the ideal alternative to conventional silver and composite fillings. The inlay or onlay is made by a professional dental laboratory and is permanently cemented to the tooth by one of our dental experts. The restoration takes about 2-3 weeks to make, so a temporary inlay or onlay will be placed on the tooth.

Porcelain inlays and onlays are very popular because they closely resemble the natural tooth. During your inlay or onlay restoration visit to our dental clinic in NYC, our doctors will place the inlay or onlay into your mouth and set it with cement. Your tooth will look natural and hardly anyone will be able to tell the difference – not even you!

As with most dental restorations, inlays and onlays are not always permanent and may someday require replacement. However, they are still highly durable and will last many years, giving you a beautiful long lasting smile.

Reasons for inlay/onlay restorations:

  • Broken or fractured teeth
  • Cosmetic enhancement
  • Decayed teeth
  • Fractured fillings
  • Large fillings

Advantages of Inlays/Onlays:

  • Better contour to the affected tooth, resulting in a healthier gum.
  • Less food impaction.
  • Extremely durable, high-strength compared to white fillings.
  • Outstanding color match and translucency mimicking the natural tooth.
  • Less bacterial leakage due to superior fit.
  • Less wear and tear on your bite compared to white fillings, in which there is severe wear and tear due to the forces of the bite.

Advantages of Porcelain Inlays/Onlays

  • The porcelain restoration can be colored perfectly to match the existing tooth and look completely natural. They are much more aesthetically pleasing than metal or amalgam.
  • Done correctly, porcelain inlays/onlays feel and function just like your natural teeth.
  • Porcelain inlays/onlays are stain resistant.
  • The porcelain inserts are very strong and once bonded, add significant strength to the decayed tooth.
  • Porcelain inlays/onlays are very durable and made to last a long time.

What does getting an inlay or onlay involve?

A inlay or onlay procedure typically requires two appointments at Central Park Dentistry.

At your first appointment, the dentist will numb the tooth and remove any decay and/or old filling materials. The space is then thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared. The surface is shaped to properly fit the inlay restoration. The dentist will then take several, highly accurate, impressions (molds) that will be used to create your custom-fit inlay/onlay. These impressions will be sent to a dental laboratory, where the inlay or onlay is fabricated. A temporary filling is applied to protect the tooth while your inlay or onlay is made by a dental laboratory.

At your second appointment, your new inlay or onlay will be carefully and precisely cemented into place. A few adjustments may be necessary to ensure a proper fit and to ensure that your bite is comfortable.

When your treatment is completed, you will receive care instructions. It’s important to keep in mind that good oral hygiene, eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your inlay(s) and onlay(s). Central Park Dentistry specializes in inlay and onlay restorations in NYC for their patients. To request your no-obligation consultation with our experts, please call us at (212) 486-6211 or send us an e-mail at and our staff will get back to you with more details.