Inlays and Onlays By N. Perry Orchard on November 03, 2012

Corpus Christi Inlays, OnlaysInlays and onlays, or “indirect fillings,” are used in the treatment of tooth decay. Typically, inlays and onlays are used to treat back teeth that have been damaged from tooth decay. Tooth decay occurs when acid found within the mouth eats away at the surfaces of the teeth. This process results in the formation of small holes or crevices within the teeth, widely known as cavities. Because further damage may result if left untreated, it is especially important to seek treatment for a cavity. An untreated cavity may leave nerves exposed and cause severe decay within the tooth.

For our patients in Corpus Christi, inlays, onlays, and dental crowns may be used in the treatment of decayed or damaged teeth. To determine which dental restoration is best suited to your unique dental needs, please schedule an appointment with Corpus Christi cosmetic dentist Charles Robertson or cosmetic dentist N. Perry Orchard today.

While inlays and onlays are highly effective in the treatment of teeth affected by damage and decay, they are not always the best treatment. Sometimes a tooth will be too damaged for a traditional filling, inlay, or onlay. In this case, we may recommend dental crowns. For our patients in Corpus Christi, dental crowns may be used to reinforce teeth weakened from decay, to treat teeth that are chipped or cracked, and to preserve otherwise healthy tooth structures within damaged teeth. 

Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and onlays are usually comprised of resin materials or porcelain. Because of this, once placed, inlays and onlays become virtually undetectable. They are incredibly strong and long-lasting and can be used to treat rear teeth that have moderate decay. Their strength and durability make inlays and onlays excellent dental restorations. Inlays and onlays are a good choice when the remaining structure of a damaged tooth is in good condition. More of the remaining healthy tooth structure is preserved during the inlays and onlays treatment process than with dental crowns. Another advantage of inlays and onlays is that they are more stain resistant than other dental restorations such as dental crowns.


Teeth that have been affected by decay or damage within their indented top surfaces, between the cusps of the teeth, are treated with inlays. Inlays may also be used to replace amalgam (metal) fillings. The inlay treatment process typically requires two office visits. During the first office visit, an impression of the tooth is taken. Once completed, a temporary inlay is placed over the tooth. The impression is then taken to a laboratory where your inlay will be custom-made to your tooth’s unique specifications. During the second office visit, the temporary inlay is removed and the permanent inlay is then placed.


Teeth that have been affected by damage or decay extending to one or more of the cusps of the teeth are treated with onlays. The onlays treatment process is quite similar to the inlays treatment process. During your first visit, an impression is made of the tooth. Once completed, a temporary onlay is placed over the tooth. The impression is sent to a laboratory where an onlay is custom-made to your tooth’s unique specifications. When you return to the office, the temporary onlay is removed and the permanent onlay is then placed over the tooth.

To Learn More

To learn more about inlays and onlays, please contact Corpus Christi cosmetic dentists Charles Robertson and N. Perry Orchard today.

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Orchard Dental Associates, PLLC

Orchard Dental Associates, PLLC

Drs. Nicholas Perry Orchard  and Alejandro Vilamil provide comprehensive dentistry using the latest state-of-the-art technology. Our dentists are affiliated with the following organizations:

  • American Dental Association
  • Academy of General Dentistry
  • Texas Dental Association

To book your appointment, contact us online or give us a call at (361) 992-3011.

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