If you think dental-speak can be confusing we are going to confuse you even more. There are such things as direct restorations and indirect restorations. Direct restorations mean that the restorative dental material is available right then and there in the office and the treatment is performed during that visit, such as a dental filling. Indirect restorations mean that the tooth is prepared for treatment, then impressions are taken and sent to a dental lab where the restoration is fabricated with the required materials. Inlays and onlays are indirect restorations as are crowns, veneers, bridges, dentures, etc. Since an inlay serves the same purpose as a dental filling, why would your dentist recommend an inlay instead of a filling?

Inlay vs Dental Filling

Inlays serve the same purpose as a dental filling, only inlays provide some added benefits compared to a dental filling. For instance, for both an inlay and a filling you must remove the decayed part of the tooth, and fill it with another material. When the cavity is filled with an amalgam dental filling, there is not only no guarantee that the filling will conform to the edges of the cavity, the silver amalgam expands and contracts with heat and cold and can crack the tooth.

Because an impression is made of the cavity, inlays are fabricated to the exact size and shape of the cavity. They are also cemented in place and, therefore, actually strengthen the tooth rather than weaken it. In fact, after an inlay or onlay procedure, the tooth can bear 50 to 75 percent more chewing force.


An inlay is placed within the cusp tips of the tooth. However, for more extensive damage that includes the restoration of one or more tooth cusps, the restoration is referred to as an onlay.

Does Your Cavity Require An Inlay?

To find out if you would benefit from an inlay or onlay, schedule a consultation with Just Wright Dental in Corsicana, TX, today by calling (903) 225-2221. We proudly serve patients from Navarro County, Mildred, Eureka, Ennis, Fairfield, Teague, Blooming Grove, Dawson, Hubbard, Hillsboro, Mexia, Groesbeck, Kerens, Malakoff, Rice, Centerville, Buffalo, and Athens.