Inlays/Onlays in Somerville, MA

Inlays and onlays are types of dental restorations used to repair damaged teeth. They are also referred to as indirect fillings because they are made in a dental laboratory before being placed in the patient’s mouth. Your dentist will recommend an inlay or onlay if the damage to your tooth is too large for a regular filling, but not severe enough to require a dental crown.

If you require this dental treatment, you can always trust Smile Dental Group. Our dedication to using the latest advancements in dental technology with a personalized, patient-centric approach ensures every inlay and onlay restoration is precise, comfortable, and effective.

What Exactly Are Dental Inlays and Onlays?

As mentioned, dental inlays and onlays are restorative treatments that repair rear teeth with mild to moderate decay. They can also restore cracked or fractured teeth if the damage is not severe enough to require a dental crown. These treatments are a more conservative option than crowns because dentists don’t need to remove much of the tooth’s structure.


These fit into the biting surface between the cusps (or rounded edges) of a tooth, similar to a filling. However, unlike fillings that are molded during the dental visit, inlays are pre-made in a dental lab and then securely bonded into place by the dentist. It makes them a durable and long-lasting solution.


Dental onlays work similarly but cover a larger area. They are sometimes called “partial crowns” because they cover one or more of the tooth’s cusps. Onlays are indicated when the damage extends over the tooth’s cusps, providing substantial reconstructive coverage. Like inlays, they are also fabricated in a dental lab before a dentist fits and bonds it to the damaged tooth.

When Is a Dental Inlay or Onlay Treatment Necessary?

Tooth Decay or Damage

If your cavity is too large for a filling but not severe enough for a crown, your dentist may recommend a dental inlay or onlay treatment. These options are more durable and offer a better fit and appearance than large fillings.

Fractured or Cracked Teeth

If a tooth is fractured or cracked but the damage doesn’t affect the cusp of the tooth, an inlay might be appropriate. However, if one or more cusps are affected, an onlay might be suitable since it covers one or more cusps or the entire biting surface.

Existing Large Fillings

Over time, large fillings might fail or become defective. Replacing them with inlays or onlays can provide a stronger and longer-lasting solution.

Aesthetic Improvement

If you want to improve the cosmetic look of your teeth, porcelain or composite resin inlays and onlays can offer a more natural look compared to amalgam fillings.

Tooth Sensitivity

If you feel sensitivity in a specific tooth due to decay or wear, it’s a sign that you need an inlay or onlay. These treatments can help protect the tooth from further damage and reduce sensitivity by providing a better seal.

Increased Tooth Wear

Teeth that show increased wear, for example, from bruxism (teeth grinding), might benefit from an onlay that covers the biting surface to protect the tooth from further damage.

Differences Between Inlays and Fillings

While dental inlays and fillings are used to restore teeth damaged by decay or injury, both have key differences. Fillings are direct restorations, meaning the material is applied directly to the cavity and shaped within the mouth during your dental visit. This process is quick and suitable for smaller areas of decay. 

In contrast, inlays are indirect restorations. They are custom-made to precisely fit the cavity in your tooth, then bonded securely in place during a subsequent visit. This process allows for a more precise fit, seals the tooth better, and enhances the strength and durability of the restoration compared to traditional fillings. 

Furthermore, inlays typically use materials like porcelain or composite resin, which can better match the natural color of your teeth, offering both functional and aesthetic advantages.

Get Top-Quality Inlays and Onlays at Smile Dental Group

Ready to enhance the health and appearance of your teeth conservatively and effectively? At Smile Dental Group, we specialize in dental inlays and onlays that restore functionality and maintain the beauty of your natural smile. We have been helping patients in Somerville, MA for years, making us one of the most trusted dental practices in the area.

Don't settle for anything less than the strength, durability, and aesthetic appeal that our inlays and onlays can offer. Contact us today to schedule your appointment and take the first step towards a stronger, healthier smile!

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