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General Dentistry

Inlays and onlays

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Inlays and onlays


Decayed or chipped teeth can often be repaired with tooth-coloured composite fillings that look natural, however if the damage is too much, then an inlay may be recommended. If the tooth requires extra support for biting, then an onlay or crown becomes necessary.

Inlays are lab made fillings that, instead of being created in your mouth, are made in a lab and are then bonded to your tooth. Onlays are similar to inlays but cover over the biting surface to provide extra support to the tooth.


the procedure

  • The tooth is shaped very carefully to allow for the chosen restoration to fit the tooth.
  • After a digital scan is made of your tooth, the inlay or onlay will be made in a dental lab by a technician.
  • Thanks to advances in digital technology that we use, we can design and fit porcelain inlays/onlays in a single visit, often within the hour! This means you will need less visits to have your tooth restored compared to traditional approaches.
  • Your restored tooth will not only look like a real tooth but also feel and function like one, allowing you to bite, chew and eat without any discomfort.

Life Benefits:

  • Preserves remaining tooth structure
  • Long-term aesthetic and functional solution
  • Natural-looking restoration

FAQs About Inlays and Onlays - The Dentist Leeds

What Are Inlays And Onlays?

Inlays and onlays are often referred to as indirect fillings. They are custom made and formed in a dental laboratory before being fitted into the patient’s tooth. Inlays are fitted inside the tooth while onlays are fitted over to top of the tooth. Both inlays and onlays offer an effective solution to problems with a tooth that has become chipped or broken.

Aren’t They The Same As Fillings?

The purpose of inlays and onlays is the same as a filling, however, they are used in cases where there is extensive damage to a tooth that can still be saved. The procedure for an inlay is very similar to an ordinary composite filling. The decay is removed from the tooth but then the dentist will take an impression of the hole and the inlay will be made as a single, solid piece that will be cemented into place by the dentist. Onlays work the same way but are used when the tooth is broken or chipped. An onlay is usually placed on the cusp of the tooth when the damage is not severe enough to require a crown.

How Long Will I Need To Spend In The Dentist’s Chair?

You can generally have inlays or onlays done in two visits to the dentist. The first visit to the dentist is to clean and prepare the tooth for the inlay or onlay and take an impression to have the inlay or onlay custom made in the laboratory. During the second visit, the dentist will place the inlay or onlay to ensure a perfect fit before bonding it to the tooth.

How Long Do Inlays And Onlays Last?

Inlays and onlays are among the most effective ways to deal with large cavities and chipped or broken teeth. With the right dental hygiene regimen in place and regular visits to The Dentist, you can expect your inlays or onlays to last for 20 years, perhaps even a decade or so longer.

How Do I Care For My Inlays Or Onlays?

The best news about having an inlay or onlay fitted to a damaged tooth is that it doesn’t really require any special treatment once the procedure has been completed. You will care for your inlay or onlay in much the same way as you would care for your existing teeth. That means regular brushing and flossing. It’s also a good idea to schedule regular visits with your practitioner at The Dentist to check the condition of your inlay or onlay, as well as the health of the rest of your teeth.

Will I Be Able To Eat The Same Foods After The Procedure?

The good news is that you will be able to resume eating all of your favourite foods after your dentist has fitted you with an inlay or onlay. The only restrictions should be observed immediately following this procedure. During the first day or so, eat softer foods. That doesn’t mean you need to eat food that has a porridge like consistency. Just avoid food that is crunchy or hard for a day or two.

start your smile journey today


our membership plans

We accept referrals from general dentists for specialist treatments and we train dentists to enchance their own skills through courses we run.