Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and onlays are a type of filling that’s pre-made before being placed in the mouth. For example, when a cavity or portion of a tooth is removed, the more common fillings used to replace the missing piece of tooth is liquid. This liquid is then dried, and the patient is set to go on their way. However, with an inlay or onlay, the missing piece of tooth is replaced by an already formed material and these are called inlays or onlays.

Inlays and Onlays Dr. Aaron Wildung DDS Family Dental Phoenix General, Cosmetic, Restorative, Preventative, Family Dentist in Phoenix, AZ 85021


The main difference between these two things is that an onlay is usually laid on the tooth to repair it and an inlay is placed inside the tooth. Both are made of the same materials and function in the same manner. However, where they’re used on the tooth is what creates the differences.


Usually an inlay or an onlay is used when the damage of the tooth is too much for a regular filling to handle. The bigger the filling, the weaker a regular filling will be. Therefore, to ensure no future mishaps occur and your teeth are as strong as they can be, an inlay or onlay may be suggested. Once the damaged, or decayed, portion of the tooth is removed, a temporary onlay may be placed on the tooth. Impressions are then sent to a lab for the real onlay to be created that will fit perfectly with a patient’s tooth. If an inlay is being created, there is usually no temporary covering for this. The affected portion of the tooth is removed and then an impression is taken and sent to a lab. Once the impression is returned, the tooth is the fitted with the inlay.

If you’re unsure whether your tooth requires and inlay or onlay, contact us today to setup an appointment.