Inlays and Onlays

Restore your molars and tooth structure at Belmar Park Dental Care.

Fix Larger Cavities With Inlays or Onlays

Inlays and onlays treat tooth decay while providing molar support.

A mature man with inlays and onlays helping to shape his beautiful smile

Do you have a cavity too large for a regular filling yet too small for a crown? Don’t worry; the tooth can be saved from decay, and an inlay or onlay can be applied to restore the tooth’s function.

For larger cavities, inlays cover the area between the cusps using a tooth-colored composite or metal adhered to teeth. Onlays work in a similar way to cover the tooth damage and go farther to cover the chewing surface and replace a tooth’s damaged cusps.

Inlays and onlays fix:

  • Large cavities on molar surfaces

  • Minor tooth damage

  • Worn back teeth

Find out if inlays or onlays can restore your damaged molars or cavities.

The Advantages of Inlays and Onlays

Here are just a few reasons why inlays and onlays benefit patients.

Great Support

Larger damage to a back tooth gets fixed with the much-needed support for chewing.


There’s less enamel removal than with a crown, saving more of your natural tooth.


Inlays and onlays can be made using a tooth-colored composite to match your natural teeth.

How Do Inlays and Onlays Work?

These steps with Dr. Collins help fix large cavities.

Lakewood CO Dentists Dr. Collins and Dr. Suslik

If we find you have a large cavity during the dental exam at Belmar Park Dental Care in Lakewood, we may recommend an inlay or onlay to correct the issue. It’s a safe and stress-free procedure.

  • Step 1

    We determine the cavity’s size and if an inlay or onlay is the best solution. The infected tooth area is numbed, and we clean out the decay and prepare the tooth for the inlay or onlay.

  • Step 2

    An impression of your teeth is made to create the inlay or onlay with a perfect fit. It’s made of a safe and durable material.

  • Step 3

    Once the inlay or onlay is made, we fit it and check for comfort and a perfect bite. It’s adjusted slightly if necessary and then cemented onto the tooth and polished.

Teeth with too much damage for traditional fillings benefit from inlays and onlays that save much of the natural structure. Inlays and onlays can also replace old or damaged fillings.

FAQ About Inlays and Onlays
  • What is inlay and onlay in dentistry?

    Inlays and onlays in dentistry are tooth filling structures used to fix cavities that are too large for traditional fillings yet too small for dental crowns. They can also be used for worn teeth or injured teeth, providing support for the surface of a person’s molars.

    Inlays are used for areas between the cusps of teeth, while onlays are for larger areas on the tooth, including the cusp. Onlays are sometimes called partial crowns; this is because they cover the tooth’s surface but not as much as a crown.

  • What is the difference between inlay and onlay?

    The difference between an inlay and an onlay is the area of coverage. An inlay covers less tooth damage (in between the tooth cusp), while an onlay covers more (inside the cusp and the cusp itself).

  • What are inlays and onlays used for?

    Inlays and onlays are used for restoring damaged back teeth from large cavities, tooth injury, or trauma.

  • How long do inlays and onlays last?

    Inlays and onlays can be crafted with different materials but typically last ten years or more. It’s important to take proper care of your teeth at home and maintain biannual dentist visits to ensure the integrity of your dental work.

  • Are onlays better than crowns?

    Onlays and crowns both restore large tooth damage on a person’s molars, but the difference is in the area of coverage.

    Crowns cover the entire molar biting surface, including the tooth structure itself. Crowns are used for full tooth coverage; they work as a cap to go on top of the tooth.

    Onlays cover less of the tooth, such as the molar surface itself, including one cusp or several. Unlike crowns, less of the natural tooth structure is removed during onlay prep.

The Solution to Large Cavities

Schedule a visit with our Lakewood, CO dentist for inlay and onlay solutions.