Dental inlays and onlays are restorations used to repair teeth with mild to moderate decay, cracks and fractures that are not sufficiently damaged to need a full crown.
Dental inlays and onlays are used when something stronger than a filling is needed. A dental inlay is similar to a filling and fits inside of the tooth. A dental onlay is more extensive and extends over the sides of the treated tooth, but is still more conservative than a crown.
Like crowns, bridges and veneers they are a two step process – preparation and insertion. While awaiting the lab to produce the inlay or onlay a temporary one is worn to protect the tooth.