Inlays and onlays are recommended in cases where a conventional filling is not enough, but the damage is not so extensive to require a crown. Inlays and onlays may strengthen the tooth and prevent further damage when bonded properly.
The procedure consists of removing the decayed area of the tooth and then making an impression of the tooth structure which is sent to the lab for fabrication of either an inlay or onlay using materials such as ceramics, gold, or composite resin. A temporary inlay or onlay is placed until the long-term restoration is completed. Once made, the inlay or onlay is bonded to the tooth structure and will look natural to the eye as it mimics the pits and fissures of the chewing surface.