An inlay restoration is a custom made filling made either of composite material, gold, silver or tooth-colored porcelain. Porcelain inlays are popular because they are perfectly matched to the white of your tooth, hence, look very natural. A porcelain inlay is made by a professional dental laboratory and is permanently cemented into the tooth by your dentist. Inlays can be utilized to conservatively repair teeth that have large defective fillings or have been damaged by decay or trauma. They are more conservative than crowns because less tooth structure is removed in the preparation of inlays.
Onlays are essentially identical to inlays with the exception that one or more of the chewing cusps have also been affected and need to be included in the restoration. An onlay is sometimes also referred to as a partial crown.
As with most dental restorations, inlays and onlays are not always permanent and may someday require replacement. They are highly durable and will last many years, giving you a beautiful long lasting smile.