Inlays & Onlays


Woman smiling with perfect teeth

“Don’t let damage get in the way of your smile!”


We, at Amir Sanjabi, DDS, help you make the right restorative treatment choices for your teeth. We offer inlay and onlay treatments that can repair damaged or decayed tooth and bring your smile back to its best state.

Inlays and onlays, also known as indirect fillings, are used when the damage to your tooth is extensive enough that just a filling is not enough, but not so bad that you would need a dental crown. These treatments are less aggressive and serve to keep your natural tooth as intact as possible. Unlike regular fillings, these inlays and onlays are fabricated outside of the mouth, in dental labs, and then bonded to your teeth.

Difference between Inlays and Onlays


An inlay is a customized filling that that is fitted to the pits and fissures of a tooth and do not extend to its cusps. The inlay is bonded to the tooth and can improve the strength of the tooth. Inlays are fabricated from gold, porcelain, and composite resin material and are much more durable than traditional fillings. Gold inlays are the most durable out of all the material used and are very expensive as well.

An onlay is a method to restore more extensive damage that affects the cusps and the biting surface of the tooth. Like inlays, they fit inside the tooth but extend to the cusps as well. These fittings are great for you if your tooth’s damage cannot be fixed with an inlay, but it doesn’t quite require a crown or cap.

It is difficult for a patient to determine whether they need an inlay or an onlay instead of a crown. We recommend visiting our clinic to find out if you are a candidate for an inlay or onlay.

Fitting Method of Inlays and Onlays


Getting an inlay or onlay will require at least two visits to our office. The procedure is pretty similar to what you may experience when you get a crown; however, there are a few important distinctions. When you need a crown, the enamel of your natural tooth starts to erode, and the tooth is shaped to accommodate the crown. However, with inlays and onlays, very little of your natural tooth structure needs to be removed, as the goal is to preserve as much natural tooth as possible.

The first step in getting an inlay or onlay is to anesthetize the tooth’s surrounding area and to remove decay and debris from the cavity. We do this to prevent decay and infection from going deeper into the tooth. Once the tooth is prepared, a putty-like material or a digital scanner is used to take the impression of your tooth. The impression is sent to the laboratory where a model is made for the fabrication of your inlays or onlays.

Your dentist will then place a temporary filling in your cavity to protect it. During your second visit, we will seal the inlay or onlay to your tooth with dental cement.

Benefits of Inlays and Onlays


•  Better Fit: Inlay and onlays are custom-made to fit your tooth to its exact specification and are a better alternative to full-coverage crowns.
•  Safeguard Tooth Structure: Since all the remaining healthy teeth are preserved in these treatments, they can result in the longevity of the tooth.
•  Easier Cleaning: Because they are customized to fit your tooth exactly, they are no spaces or snags that prevent thorough brushing and flossing of the tooth. They are also better at keeping out bacteria compared to normal fillings.
•  Strengthen Tooth: Since they are made of very resilient and durable material, inlays and onlays are extremely stable and strong and can help make your tooth stronger. This is because it does not require comprehensive erosion of healthy teeth.


Inlays and onlays are very strong and durable and require no special level of care. Regular brushing, flossing and dental checkup are all you need to make these restorations last a long time. To schedule an appointment for an inlay or onlay, call us at (562) 287-8016.

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