Inlays & Onlays

When more than half of the tooth’s biting surface is damaged, a dentist will often use an inlay or onlay to restore it.

What are inlays and onlays?

If a cavity or a broken filling removes one or more cusps from your back tooth a filling isn’t strong enough to replace it. An inlay or onlay is as strong as a crown, but used when only a portion of your tooth needs to be restored. 

How are inlays and onlays applied?

Dr Lemke has the ability to make inlays and onlays in one visit using CEREC technology. First we prepare your tooth. We take a digital 3D model of your mouth to design the onlay. We fabricate the restoration in office, and bond it to your tooth with the highest quality cements. It’s a longer visit than a filling, but the result is a much more durable restoration of your tooth. 

Considerations for inlays and onlays

Traditional fillings can reduce the strength of a natural tooth by up to 50 percent. As an alternative, inlays and onlays, which are bonded directly onto the tooth using special high-strength resins, can actually increase the strength of a tooth by up to 75 percent. As a result, they can last from 10 to 30 years. In some cases, where the damage to the tooth is not extensive enough to merit an entire crown, onlays can provide a very good alternative.