When a tooth has lost a significant amount of its structure one of the options for treatment can be an inlay or onlay. An inlay fits into the tooth whilst an onlay also covers the top biting surface of the tooth. Both inlays and onlays are usually manufactured in a dental laboratory using precision models of your teeth and are used when a dentist thinks a direct filling will not offer enough protection to the tooth for the long term.
The Inlay or Onlay Process
Your dentist will evaluate your tooth first to ensure that the tooth is alive and the remaining tooth tissue is healthy enough for your inlay or onlay. Your dentist will also ensure that you have enough tooth tissue left so that an inlay or onlay restores your tooth's looks and function for many years to come.