Inlays and Onlays: Which Is Which? | Riverside Dentist

We all want to have our best smiles and do our best to keep our smiles looking their healthy best. But sometimes, things happen that can give our teeth some flaws. Is all hope lost? Luckily, no. Damaged teeth can be returned back to new with dental restorations called inlays and onlays. The problem is – which is which?

A dental inlay or onlay is bigger than a filling and smaller than a crown. It is bonded or cemented into place. An inlay is similar to a filling, but it lies within the cusps on the chewing surface of your tooth. An onlay is larger than an inlay. It replaces one or more decayed cusps.

There are two types of inlays and onlays: direct and indirect. Direct inlays and onlays are made in the dental office and applied in one visit. Indirect inlays and onlays are generally made in a laboratory, which means you’ll need two visits.

Inlays and onlays are completely natural looking dental restorations that will restore the strength and stability to your teeth. But more than that, inlays and onlays can also make your oral hygiene routines easier! In only two dental visits, your oral health will drastically improve with these little dental restorations.

If you’re worried about having a natural look, worry not. Inlays or onlays can be made of gold, composite resin (plastic) or ceramics. And not only are they a temporary fix – they can last for 10 years or longer, depending on factors like which teeth are involved, how you chew and your dental hygiene practices. The better you treat them, the better they’ll treat you.

To set up an appointment, call Dr. Middleton in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442 or visit

Dr. Middleton proudly accepts patients from Riverside, Corona, San Bernardino, Redlands, Moreno Valley, Lake Elsinore and all surrounding areas.