When a tooth cannot support a filling but is not damaged enough for a dental crown procedure, you get faced with the dilemma of falling somewhere in between. Dental inlays and onlays save the healthy portion of your teeth and also provide stability for regular chewing and eating.

What To Expect

Here is what you can expect when getting a dental onlay:

Indirect Onlays
Indirect onlays require two separate dental visits. During your first visit, your dentist will prepare teeth by removing tooth decay where needed. After the tooth is prepped, an impression is made of the tooth’s structure and then sent to a dental laboratory. The dentist then places a temporary dental filling to preserve the tooth from further damage while the custom onlay is being made. Once your dentist receives the onlay from the lab, you are called in for your second dental visit. The dentist then removes the temporary filling, and the onlay is cemented onto the tooth.

Direct Onlays:
The same preparatory steps for indirect onlays is taken for direct onlays. The difference is that for direct onlays, the tooth is filled with a composite material (resin). Due to modern dental technologies, direct dental onlays can now be made in office. Speak to your dentist about your dental onlay options.


Inlays and onlays are essentially a type of partial crown.

Composite Material
This is basically a mixture of tooth-colored resin that resembles glass and acrylics. Inlays and onlays made of composite material are the most aesthetically pleasing option due to their close resemblance to the natural color of your original teeth.

Gold is the material of choice for inlays and onlays that are needed near the back teeth or molars due to their durability and strength.

This option is ideal for those who wish to match their inlays or onlays to the color of their natural teeth.

Risk Considerations

Like any restorative dental procedure, there are a few risks to consider. The life expectancy of your dental inlay or onlay depends on the material that you decide to use.


The cost of inlays or onlays varies depending on what kind of material you decide to opt for, as well as your location. Dental insurance providers may cover a portion of the cost of inlays or onlays, and the cost may vary from $300 to $900. Speak to your dentist or contact your insurance provider to be certain cost of inlays or onlays is covered.

To learn more about dental inlays and onlays in San Juan Capistrano, California, and schedule a consultation with Dr. Mojgan Niktash and Dr. Abrak Etemad, please contact Paradise Dental Practice today at 949-481-2121.