What Are Dental Inlays?

Dental inlays repair the chewing surface of your tooth. You can have your inlays created of tooth-colored porcelain or gold. Most inlays are more durable than the composite or amalgam fillings. They are also less expensive than a crown.

What Are Dental Onlays?

Another restoration technique that our office offers is dental onlays. Sometimes they are called indirect fillings. Onlays offer patients a stronger, well-fitting, and longer-lasting repair for tooth decay or other structural damage.

Onlays are also created in our dental lab before we fit and bond them to damaged teeth. Unlike an inlay, an onlay covers an entire biting surface or one or more points of a tooth, called a cusp. Onlays can be made from various materials, but ceramic is the most popular. At our office, it typically takes two visits to complete an onlay.

Our Process for Dental Inlays and Onlays

At your visit, we will take an impression of your teeth. These days, that’s as simple as waving a wand over your teeth, creating a 3D digital model of them. We’ll send this impression to our lab, and our experienced technicians will create your custom inlay or onlay. In the meantime, we will create a temporary restoration to protect your tooth until the permanent restoration is ready. On your second visit, we will remove the temporary and place your permanent restoration. We will check your bite and ensure your onlay is smooth and fits correctly. Finally, we will bond the restoration onto your tooth and polish the edges.

A dental onlay offers our patients a less expensive alternative to a full-coverage crown. We will save as much of your healthy tooth as we can when you get an onlay.

Why Choose Us for Dental Inlays and Onlays?

Unlike dental crowns, inlays and onlays preserve more of the natural tooth. To do it correctly, you need a skilled and experienced cosmetic dentist to create and place the onlays. It’s a delicate balance, deciding when it’s best to preserve your tooth enamel and when it’s best to remove it. A well-trained and experienced prosthodontist has the insight to make this call.

Our in-house dental laboratory ensures that your permanent inlays and onlays are made to the prosthodontist’s specifications. Plus, you can expect them sooner than other dental offices who send restoration jobs away to another state–sometimes even another country.

When you come into our Scarsdale office, you can expect attentive dentists and team members who will listen carefully to your concerns. If you are a candidate for dental inlays and onlays, our dentists will work to ensure they are created and placed to last longer. Want to know if you are a candidate? Call us today!

What Are the Benefits of Inlays and Onlays?

There are many benefits to choosing dental inlays and onlays.

  • Less expensive option than a dental crown
  • Can easily bond to the surface of the tooth
  • Do not weaken the tooth’s structure
  • Adds stability and strength to your tooth
  • Allows you to maintain a beautiful smile without metal in your mouth
  • You have the option of a ceramic or gold inlay or onlay
  • More durable than composite or amalgam fillings
  • Can preserve more of the natural tooth
  • Offers perfect contours for maintaining healthy gums
  • Easy to clean

As you can see, there are many benefits in choosing dental inlays and onlays. The quality of inlays and onlays far surpasses that of metal fillings.

Chipped and Cracked Teeth

One of the most common applications for dental inlays and onlays is repairing chipped and cracked teeth.

Chipped Tooth

A chipped tooth doesn’t always cause you any pain. Minor chips can be barely noticeable, and you may not bother too much about them because they’re just cosmetic fixes rather than ones affecting your health. However, you can chip your tooth enough to expose the nerve, and in these cases, it’s vital to get some help as soon as possible. If this happens, you will notice it because not only will it be more painful, your teeth will be more sensitive to hot and cold food.

Cracked Tooth

Some cracks in the teeth only affect the enamel, and these require a fix before they become more of a problem. Some cracks go right to the root of the tooth. These cracked teeth will cause more pain when chewing or when particularly hot or cold substances touch the tooth. If you notice your tooth has broken, you need to see a dentist as soon as possible to fix the cracked tooth as quickly as possible.

Do All Teeth Crack the Same Way?

There are so many different ways the teeth can crack, and it’s essential to know the difference to spot yours.

Cracked Tooth

From the biting surface to the root, sometimes below the gum line and into the root itself. The soft inner tooth may get damaged from this.

Craze Lines

Tiny cracks only affecting the enamel. Very common, with very little pain. No treatment is needed, though they can acquire stains, making them an aesthetic concern.

Cracked Cusp

The sharp point of the tooth is known as the cusp. When this is damaged, the tooth could break.

Split Tooth

If you don’t get your tooth appropriately treated, you could find that the tooth will split into two or more parts.

Other Treatments for Chipped and Cracked Teeth

There are a variety of treatment options for teeth that have been chipped or cracked, and an appointment with your dentist can help you to ascertain what kind of treatment you need. Here are some of the best examples of ways to fix a chipped tooth or fix a cracked tooth.

Cosmetic Contouring

Sometimes, when the chip on your tooth is tiny and just needs some adjustment, the edges of your tooth can be polished and rounded to blend the chip away and make your tooth look as good as new again.

Dental Bonding

Plastic resin can be used to fill a cracked tooth, and it can also be used to repair a chip in the tooth on the edge.

Dental Veneers

Dental veneers are a more durable approach to repairing chipped teeth. Although they’re more expensive than bonding, they can last for many years longer.

Dental Crowns

Crowns can fit over a tooth that has been cracked or damaged, and it’s designed to look like your tooth. However, if there has been any nerve damage, a root canal may be performed first to remove the infection.

Dental Implants

Sometimes, a tooth is so badly cracked that it cannot be repaired. It will have to be removed. In this situation, a dental implant is often recommended to replace the lost tooth.

Dental Bridge

A dental bridge is another option for replacing a damaged tooth. It might be a good choice if the neighboring teeth are damaged but still healthy and stable enough to support the bridge.

Get an Inlay or Onlay in Westchester

At Advanced Dentistry of Scarsdale, our dentists are experienced in diagnosing the need for and placing dental inlays and onlays.

If you would like to learn more about dental inlays and onlays, please contact us today by calling (914) 725-7100! We have some of the best dentists in Westchester, and look forward to meeting with you soon.


Choosing the right material for your dental inlay or onlay depends on several factors, including the location of the tooth, the extent of the repair needed, your aesthetic preferences, and budget. Tooth-colored porcelain offers a natural look and is a good choice for visible areas, providing durability and a high degree of match to your natural tooth color. Gold is highly durable and wear-resistant, making it suitable for the molars where chewing force is greatest. Your dentist will discuss the benefits and considerations of each material with you, helping you make the best choice for your specific needs and preferences.

Dental inlays and onlays do not require any special care beyond good oral hygiene practices. This includes brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and scheduling regular dental check-ups and cleanings. While inlays and onlays are durable and long-lasting, maintaining good oral hygiene will help ensure their longevity and the health of the surrounding tooth structure. Avoiding hard and sticky foods can also prevent damage to your restoration.

The cost of dental inlays and onlays can vary based on the material used, the complexity of the procedure, and geographic location. Generally, inlays and onlays are less expensive than dental crowns but more costly than traditional fillings. Many dental insurance plans offer coverage for these procedures, recognizing them as a restorative treatment. However, coverage levels can vary, so it’s important to check with your insurance provider to understand your specific benefits, including any deductibles or copayments. Your dental office can also assist you in estimating the cost and navigating your insurance benefits.