If you suffer from moderate damaged or decaying teeth, you might benefit from getting dental inlays or onlays. For most patients, those terms are foreign but little do you know that inlays and onlays offer similar benefits to other cosmetic dental treatments such as fillings or crowns. The main difference between dental inlays and onlays when compared to crowns or fillings is that they fall somewhere in between the two in terms of how badly damaged your teeth are and what responsive actions need to be made.

Understanding your current dental health and assessing whether dental inlays or onlays might be right for you over other options can be quite difficult for patients on their own. That’s why its crucial that you seek the expertise of your local dental health professional as soon as you experience any decay or damage to your teeth or if you even feel at risk of facing these issues in the future. Below, we’ll discuss in extended detail what dental inlays and onlays are, why you might choose them over other options, and how much each costs. Continue reading to find out more.


So you now know that inlays and onlays offer similar results to a filling or a crown in that they can restore a slightly damaged tooth but you might not be completely clear on how they truly work and look. Below, ABQ Dentists describes what inlays and onlays are as well as the materials they are typically made out of. Just like crowns, inlays and onlays can come in a number of materials ranging from gold to the more popular choice of porcelain. For patients who want the most natural look, porcelain will be the best option as it closely resembles the appearance of your natural teeth.

Inlays, Onlays & Crowns

“Inlays and onlays can be made of porcelain, gold, or composite resin. These pieces are bonded to the damged area of the tooth. An inlay, which is similar to a filling, is used inside the cusp tips of the tooth. An onlay is a more substantial reconstruction, similar to the inlay, but extending out over on or more of the cusps of the tooth. In some cases, where the damage of the tooth is not extensive enough to merit an entire crown, onlays can provide an extremely good alternative.

Traditionally, gold has been the material of choice of inlays and onlays. In recent years, however, porcelain has become increasingly popular due to its strength and color, which can potentially match the natural color of your teeth.”

As you learn more about dental inlays and onlays, you might notice alternative treatments such as fillings and crowns come up in comparison quite a lot. That’s because most patients are familiar with those terms and usually can resolve their dental health issues by getting either one. However, many patients also don’t realize that inlays and onlays occasionally offer you a better solution depending on the current health of your teeth. Fillings might not always be the most durable option and crowns involve stripping away quite a bit of your natural tooth which might not be appealing to some patients. Below, Lausanne Dental Implant Clinic explains several benefits of opting for dental inlays or onlays over other treatment options.

Inlays and Onlays

“Ideal candidates for inlay or onlay work typically have too much damage or decay in the tooth structure to be successfully treated using a filling, but have sufficient healthy tooth remaining to avoid the need for a crown. This allows the dentist to conserve more of the patient’s original tooth structure.

There are other benefits to inlays and onlays in comparison to metal fillings:

  1. Inlays and onlays are durable — they’re made from tough, hard-wearing materials which last up to 30 years.
  2. They help to strengthen teeth by up to 75 percent, unlike traditional metal fillings which can actually reduce the strength of the teeth by up to 50 percent.
  3. Inlays and onlays prolong tooth life and prevent the need for more dental treatment in the future.”

In addition to knowing the benefits of dental onlays and inlays, you might also want to consider their varied pricing before you make any hasty decisions. Cost is a major factor in making any decision but getting an inlay or an onlay could actually save you money in the long run. The Academy of Comprehensive Esthetics reviews the cost of both dental inlays and onlays in the following article as well as several factors that might influence the price of your treatment. To get a more accurate estimate regarding the price of your dental inlays or onlays, you should consult with your local dentist.

Dental Inlays & Onlays: Differences, Procedure & Cost

“Most dental insurance plans will cover some to all of the costs associated with the inlay and onlay procedure because these treatments are considered restorative. The prices are based on national averages.

National averages suggest that:

  • Inlays can cost from $700 to $800
  • Onlays can cost between $800 and $920

Other factors that might affect the cost of the procedure include:

  • The location of the dentist’s office
  • The training of the dentist
  • Expense of the dental lab
  • The amount of teeth that need restorations
  • The material used to restore the tooth (Gold, Porcelain or Composite Resin)
  • The location of the tooth and the size of the restoration”

To learn more about dental inlays and onlays or other cosmetic dental services, you can call our staff at All-In-One Dental Innovations to set up your next consultation. Our office number is (925) 828-9811 and we look forward to receiving your call!