Inlays And Onlays

onlay1Today the dental field offers numerous types of tooth restoration procedures, based on the type, location, and extent of the tooth damage. Today’s dentists try to recommend the least invasive procedure that will save the healthy tooth structure, yet restore the function and esthetics of the tooth in question. There are a variety of treatments as well as different types of treatment materials to choose from. Inlays and onlays are a conservative alternative to a crown or filling when repairing decayed or damaged teeth.

Indirect Fillings

Inlays and onlays are considered indirect fillings because an impression of the patient’s tooth is sent to a dental lab for fabrication. Inlays and onlays are known to be better fitting, stronger, and longer lasting than a traditional filling. They are used for molars that are decayed or similarly damaged, especially if the area is too expansive for a filling but not damaged enough for a crown. Inlays and onlays differ from dental fillings because they require two visits to place.

  • Inlay: Similar to an amalgam or composite filling, it is placed inside the cavity of the tooth and bonded.
  • Onlay: An onlay is more extensive. It fits inside the cavity as does an inlay, but it also extends over the cusps of the damaged tooth.


Inlays and onlays have several advantages:

  • Strength: The tooth in question can be strengthened by 75% using an inlay or onlay.
  • Stability: They do not expand and contract as much as traditional fillings.
  • Long Lasting: The inlay/onlay material can last decades.
  • Minimally Invasive: Less natural tooth structure is removed before placing an inlay or onlay.
  • Better Fit: Because an impression of the tooth is taken inlays and onlays produce a better fit.


With over 25 years of professional experience, Dr. Steven M. Huffstutler and his caring team proudly provide exceptional preventive, cosmetic, and restorative dental treatment to patients and their families across Dallas/Ft. Worth, including North Richland Hills, Denton, the Mid-cities, Southlake, and all surrounding communities. We also have extensive experience helping patients find relief from painful TMJ disorders (various forms of jaw dysfunction). To schedule an appointment with Dr. Huffstutler, contact our office today by calling 817-918-3038.