Inlays and onlays are non-invasive indirect fillings that are best solutions for moderate to highly decayed tooth. In more technical terms, inlays and onlays are used in cases where fillings cannot be supported by the tooth structure but the tooth does not require a crown. The use of inlays and onlays to restore damaged tooth is called indirect restoration due to their restorative purpose and indirect nature.

Inlays and onlays are different types of indirect fillings, differentiated on the basis of the area of the tooth covered. Inlays are fillings, placed inside the cusps (bumps) on the chewing surface of the teeth while an onlay is larger than an inlay covering one or more cusp(s). If an onlay cover all the cusps, it is called Overlay. All are fitted onto the tooth in a similar manner.


These indirect fillings are bonded or cemented onto place with a strong dental resin and can be made of a number of materials just like regular fillings. They are typically made of gold, Porcelain and in some cases Composite resin. The choice of the material has the same factors as discussed on filling section. We place our clients’ interests before ours and therefore one can be assured of the utmost integrity when we assist you in selecting the right procedure and material in any dental treatment.

Procedure of inlay/ onlay involve 2 sittings:
1st sitting:
Usually under local anaesthesia, the decay in the tooth is removed, cavity is shaped for the retention and durability of the filling. Onlays are designed so that these can support the remaining tooth structure. An impression is taken of the preparation in alginate or elastomeric impression material. A temporary material is packed in to the preparation.
2nd sitting:
Generally no anaesthesia is required in this sitting. Temporary material is removed from the cavity. Filling is checked for the fit and accuracy of margins and occlusion. It is then cemented with resin or GIC based luting cement.


Porcelain: Best in strength and looks.

Base metal or gold alloy: Best in strength but aesthetically poor.

Composite: Moderate in strength and looks.