There are a number of dental procedures that the public is familiar with even if they’ve never had to have that particular type of treatment. However, an inlay vs onlay may not be one of them. To explain what inlays and onlays are, it might help to say they are more than just a dental filling, but less than a crown. Therefore, inlays and onlays are for a tooth that needs more than a filling, but they are more conservative than crown treatment.

Conservative Treatment

Inlays and onlays are used for teeth that have too much damage or decay to be successfully treated with a filling, yet have enough healthy tooth structure to avoid the need for a crown. Crowns often require tooth removal to accommodate the thickness of the prosthetic. Inlays and onlays do not. Therefore, they conserve more of the patient’s original tooth structure and are a minimally invasive procedure.

Indirect Restorations

There is such a thing as direct restorations and indirect restorations. Direct restorations are placed directly into your tooth in-office. Indirect restorations are fabricated in a dental lab before they can be placed into, or on, the tooth. Inlays and onlays are indirect restorations because they are fabricated outside of the office. A dental inlay is just like a dental filling because it is placed inside the cusps (top pointy edges) of the tooth. Hence the word, inlay. Onlays are for more extensive damage and they cover the inside as well as one to three of the tooth’s cusps. Additionally, they are permanently bonded to the tooth and, therefore, reinforce its strength and longevity.


At Just Wright Dental, our priority is ensuring that every visit is a comfortable and friendly experience and that all of our patients understand every stage of their diagnosis, planning, and treatment. To find out what a difference our patient-centered approach can make, schedule your consultation with Dr. Justin Wright and our team by calling our dental office in Corsicana, TX today at (903) 225-2221. We also proudly welcome patients from Navarro County, TX, and the surrounding communities, including Corsicana, Mildred, Eureka, Ennis, Fairfield, Teague, Blooming Grove, Dawson, Hubbard, Hillsboro, Mexia, Groesbeck, Kerens, Malakoff, Rice, Centerville, Buffalo, and Athens.