Inlays & Onlays

Dr. Huggins with a patient.


When over half of the tooth’s biting surface is damaged, dental inlays or onlays are often used to make the tooth whole again.

What are inlays and onlays?

Inlays and onlays at are made of a beautiful porcelain material crafted to look just like your natural tooth structure. These porcelain fillings are bonded to the tooth after the decay or damaged area of the tooth is removed. An inlay (which is similar to a large filling) is used inside the cusp tips of the tooth. An onlay is a more substantial reconstruction, extending out over one or more of the cusps of the tooth.

How are they applied?

While many inlays and onlays can take two or more visits, we can complete most cases in just one appointment! Because of our advanced CEREC technology, we can prep your tooth to receive its filling, take a digital impression (no messy impression material!), and mill your beautiful porcelain onlay or inlay right here in office. The inlay or onlay is then bonded to the tooth with a strong resin material and polished to a smooth finish.

Why might an inlay or onlay be right for me?
  • Traditional fillings can reduce the strength of a natural tooth by up to 50 percent.
  • As an alternative, inlays and onlays are bonded directly to the tooth structure using special high-strength resins. Thus they can actually increase the strength of a tooth by up to 75 percent! As a result, they can last from 10 to 30 years.
  • In some cases where the damage to the tooth is not extensive enough to merit an entire crown for the tooth, onlays can provide a very good alternative.
  • Inlays and onlays are often good alternatives to old silver fillings that are leaky and need to be replaced.