Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and onlays are strong, durable type of fillings which are used to repair a decayed tooth, thereby removing the need for an extraction. They restore the tooth to its normal function and are viewed as an acceptable and cautious alternative to a dental crown.

Inlays are types of fillings which seal a cavity within a tooth, preventing further spread of tooth decay. They are applied to the centre of a tooth only unlike onlays which cover the entire biting surface of a tooth (each of the 4 points of the tooth).

The difference between inlays and onlays and fillings is that the former are created in a dental laboratory before being applied by the dentist: whereas fillings are applied and manipulated into shape by the dentist during an actual visit.


These are a restorative treatment for tooth decay with the aim of preserving as much of the damaged tooth as possible. They are used to treat mild cases of tooth decay.

Inlays and onlays are stable, easy to clean and provide maximum support and protection.


The procedure takes place in two visits.

The first visit involves the fabrication of the inlay or onlay which is made from porcelain, gold or another resin based material. The type of material used depends on the extent of your condition.

The dentist takes an impression of your tooth using a mould filled with dental putty which is used by the laboratory to produce your inlay/onlay. You will be fitted with a temporary inlay/onlay during this period.

The permanent inlay or onlay is fitted in the second visit. The dentist checks the fit before giving it a final polish.