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When cavities or tooth defects are big, inlays are placed in a tooth instead of a large filling. They are an indirect restoration fabricated by a dental lab and cemented in another on a second appointment. The bite, contours, and fit of an inlay can be made more precisely than a filling for a longer lasting restoration. Inlays can be made of gold or porcelain


Onlays can be thought of as partial coverage crowns. They take two appointments to complete since they are an indirect restoration made by a dental lab. It is done when a cusp is fractured or the remaining tooth structure is too weak to withstand biting forces. An onlay covers over biting surfaces and extends over cusps but not the whole tooth. An onlay is a more conservative treatment than a crown. Hence, a lot less tooth structure needs to be removed with an onlay as compared to a crown.

The gold onlay is the best because it wears like a natural tooth, not damaging the opposing tooth and can last a long time. The porcelain onlay looks more natural, but it is more prone to fracture and can cause premature wear of the opposing tooth. However, when cosmetic natural locking teeth are desired porcelain inlays and onlays are an excellent choice.

Dr. Robert Alavi Dentistry

1420 Guernevill Rd #2 Santa Rosa, CA 95403 | Phone: 707-578-3776 | Fax: 707-578-1060

Copyright © 2014 Robert Alavi, DDS, Santa Rosa Dentist. All Rights Reserved.