Inlays and Onlays


For those dealing with a damaged tooth, inlays or onlays can be a good option. Dr. Lipschutz provides patients throughout Manhattan and New York City access to the most advanced treatments available for repairing teeth including both onlay and inlay services.

What are Inlays and Onlays?

Dental inlays and onlays are used to address teeth which have become damaged or decayed. They are bigger than fillings but do not surround the entire tooth like a crown. The inlay or onlay is held in place with dental bonding material or cement. An inlay is similar to a filling however it is placed inside the tooth’s cusps, or bumps. An onlay is larger and is used to replace one or more cusps. An onlay can go down the front of the tooth. Both can be made from composite resin, gold, or ceramics. They typically last around 10 years. This will of course depend on what material was chosen and how well the person cares for the tooth.

How Does the Dentist Prepare the Tooth?

The tooth and surrounding areas inside a patient’s mouth will be numbed with a local anesthesia. The tooth will also need to be cleaned and shaped to provide room for the inlay or onlay.

How are Inlays and Onlays Applied?

There are two different types of inlay and onlay procedures: indirect and direct. Indirect in or onlays are fabricated outside of the office while direct are made at the office itself. Which one is used will depend on how much of the patient’s tooth is remaining.

  • Direct- The dentist will prepare the tooth and then place a composite resin over it. The resin will be shaped to fit the tooth. The the inlay is removed and allowed to harden in an oven. The inlay is then adhered to the tooth and it will be polished to look natural. These are made in the office and usually applied in the same visit. If needed, the way the teeth come together may be adjusted to ensure a good fit.
  • Indirect- Again the tooth is cleaned and prepared. Then an impression will be made of the tooth and surrounding teeth. The patient will receive a temporary filling while the mold is sent to a lad where the inlay or onlay will be fabricated. During the second visit the doctor will cement the onlay or inlay to the tooth and polish it. If necessary, the dentist may also shape the inlay or onlay to adjust the way the teeth come together.


Robert Lipschutz, DMD, PC
57 West 57th Street, Suite 705
Midtown West

New York, NY 10019
Phone: 212-752-3001

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