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Inlays and onlays are a type of dental restoration used to fill cavities. Unlike dental fillings, they are created outside of the mouth, and unlike dental crowns, they do not cover the entire visible surface of the tooth. Keep reading to learn more about how inlays and onlays differ from fillings and crowns.


For decay that is too large for fillings and too small for crowns, inlays and onlays are the perfect solution. Inlays are the smaller of the two and usually fill the crevices between the cusps (points) on the chewing surface of a tooth. Onlays are large and can cover cusps, the entire chewing surface of a tooth, and sometimes the sides.


One of the benefits of using inlays and onlays instead of dental crowns is that they are more inexpensive because they require less material to be created and less tooth tissue removal.


Large fillings can weaken teeth, which is why inlays and onlays can be a better option. Unlike fillings, they are made outside of the mouth, allowing stronger materials to be used for their creation. Inlays and onlays can last up to 30 years if cared for properly.