Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and Onlays: A Conservative Approach to Restorations

For patients with moderate tooth decay, inlays and onlays are a durable and conservative method of restoring the structure of a damaged tooth. These restorations provide longer-lasting and more precise results than fillings, which can crack or chip if used to treat more extensive areas of tooth decay. Inlays and onlays also provide an alternative to dental crowns, which require significant reshaping and restructuring of the natural tooth. At our Flowood, MS, office, Dr. Danny O’Keefe combines decades of experience in restorative dentistry with advanced dental materials and technology to provide patients with safe, long-lasting restorations in just one appointment.

Inlays and onlays are the same type of restoration but they are placed at different sites on the tooth.

What are Inlays and Onlays?

At our practice, we offer same-day porcelain inlays and onlays. These two restorations are made of the same material but are placed on different sections of the tooth. A dental inlay covers the center of the tooth surface, while an onlay repairs the cusps, or round edges of the tooth. 

When Are They Needed?

Inlays and onlays are a great restorative solution for patients with moderate tooth decay or old, damaged fillings. Generally, moderately damaged teeth cannot be repaired with resin fillings alone, as a substantial filling can weaken the tooth, causing chips or cracks. On the other hand, moderate decay does not necessitate a dental crown, which would require the removal of both decayed and healthy tissue. Inlays and onlays can repair your smile, while conserving more of the natural tooth structure.

Creating and Placing Your Restorations

With his experience evaluating dental materials for Clinical Research Associates, Dr. O'Keefe can ensure that his patients receive highly advanced restorations in just a single appointment. 


To determine whether you are a candidate for an inlay or onlay, Dr. O’Keefe will examine your teeth to evaluate the extent of decay or damage. He may also request digital x-rays to assess the overall tooth structure and plan an appropriate placement strategy.

Combining a conservative approach to patient care with modern dental techniques and materials, Dr. O'Keefe can help conserve your tooth's natural structure.


If you decide to proceed with your inlay or onlay treatment, our team will first eliminate all traces of damaged or decayed tissue. We will then thoroughly clean and disinfect your tooth to ensure optimal results. Next, your dentist will use an intraoral camera to take digital impressions of the tooth, which can be used to design a virtual, 3-D image of your customized inlay or onlay. 

The final design is then sent to a milling unit, where it will be carved out of ceramic. In a few minutes time, your custom restoration is ready to be placed onto your tooth. For lasting and effective results, Dr. O’Keefe will apply cement to the base of your inlay or onlay and firmly press it onto the surface of your tooth. He will then apply a special light directly onto your restoration to harden the cement and secure it in place.


At Family Dental Care, our trusted and experienced team can minimize the time you spend in the dentist's chair without compromising the quality of your treatment. Inlays and onlays can help maintain both the health of your smile and your overall wellbeing. They are made from a strong and durable material that can last for 20 to 30 years, surpassing the lifespan of both crowns and fillings. In addition, these restorations are more stain-resistant, preserving the natural-looking quality of your teeth.  Lastly, as inlays and onlays are custom designed for a snug and precise fit, they are easier to clean and less likely to trap infection-causing bacteria.

Find Out if an Inlay or Onlay is Right for You

Combining a conservative approach to patient care with modern dental techniques and materials, Dr. O'Keefe can help conserve your natural tooth structure. If you are ready to restore your smile with a customized inlay or onlay, call our office today at (601) 936-2526 or fill out our online form.