Inlays and Onlays

Dental Inlays and Outlays | New York, NYWhile many people place parlays on the Super Bowl, they’re not to be confused with inlays and onlays. Many people have never heard of these dental restorations, but at Prosthodontics of New York, Dr. Roberts and Dr. Sirota use them to restore normal tooth function when a typical filling won’t get the job done and when a crown may be overkill. They get their names — inlays and onlays — from where we place them on the tooth. Inlays are placed within the cusp tips of the tooth; onlays usually cover the entire chewing surface including one or more tooth cusps.

Here’s some more information on these handy restorations at Prosthodontics of New York.

What is a dental inlay?

Inlays are placed within the tooth’s chewing surface. When the tooth has significant decay, a filling may not be a durable enough solution, but the damage may not be extensive enough to merit a crown. That’s why some people call inlays “indirect fillings.” Inlays allow us to keep more of the healthy tooth intact than we could with a filling, as well.

At most dental practices, if an inlay is needed, the decay is removed and a mold is made for use by the dental lab to fabricate the inlay. But at Prosthodontics of New York, we can create your porcelain inlay with our CEREC 3D design and milling system. That way, we can remove the decay, design the inlay, mill it, and place it in a single appointment.

What is a dental onlay?

Although they can seem the same as an inlay, onlays cover a wider area. An onlay falls in between a large filling and a crown. They are used when the damage involves not only the chewing surface but one or more of the cusps as well. Onlays enable us to save the tooth, actually strengthening it, without having to resort to a full crown that covers the entire tooth.

Like inlays, our onlays are made of porcelain and milled right in our offices with our CEREC system. They are less expensive than crowns and can last up to 30 years if properly cared for.

Onlays are compared with crowns. To make room for a crown, a portion of the healthy tooth is removed on all sides and the top. The crown then covers the entire visible portion of the tooth. An onlay only replaces the decayed portion of the tooth, yet is still invisible when looking at the tooth.


Another thing we love about inlays and onlays at Prosthodontics of New York is their durability. They offer a more affordable alternative to large fillings (inlays) or crowns (onlays), and we can save more of the healthy tooth in both cases. Plus, they last for decades, often the remainder of the patient’s life. If the tooth stays healthy, the restoration will endure.

Is it time for your next appointment at Prosthodontics of New York? Call us at (212) 758-9690 to make your appointment.