In the spectrum of dental procedures, inlays and onlays fall between crowns and fillings. Similar to crowns, inlays and onlays are created using CEREC Technology and then bonded to the surface of the tooth during a second visit. Inlays and onlays, however, do not completely cover the tooth, but correct a surface area closer to that of tooth-colored fillings. Unlike fillings, inlays and onlays strengthen the tooth structure, allowing the tooth to support 50 to 75 percent more chewing force than before treatment.
When the structure that needs to be replaced lies within the cusp tips of the tooth, an inlay is the preferred treatment. If the damaged area of the tooth is more extensive and covers one or more of the cusps, then an onlay is used to restore the structure. With proper maintenance and care, inlays and onlays can last up to 30 years.