Dental inlays and onlays are a method used to to replace a part of a tooth structure that has been damaged due to decay without completely crowning the tooth. Like a filling, an inlay will fit within a tooth while an onlay will covers the chewing surface of a back tooth or to replace cusps of the teeth. Usually inlays and onlays were created with gold, but today, dental onlays and inlays are created with ceramic or porcelain which allows better bonding with the tooth and matching the color of the tooth. It also improves the strength of the tooth and helps the seal to the tooth. Inlays and onlays are fabricated in a lab and then bonded to the tooth restoring it’s function and appearance.
Ask your dentist if you need inlays or onlays instead of crowns or caps. It is difficult to determine which method will work for you. Consulting with your dentist will help you get the best care.