Inlays & Onlays


Dental inlays and onlays are permanent restorations commonly used to restore the natural form and function of decayed posterior (molar and premolar) teeth.


A dental inlay or onlay may be recommended for teeth with moderate to large decay, cracks or old fillings, whereby the damage is too extensive to treat with a filling, but not extensive enough to require a dental crown.

Dr. Mazen Natour uses only all-porcelain inlays and onlays at his Manhattan dental clinic. Porcelain blends in most closely to match the color of the healthy portion of the tooth, while also strengthening the remaining tooth and prolonging its life.


While very similar as far as preparation, materials used and durability, dental inlays or onlays are recommended depending on the extent of affected areas. A dental inlay fits inside the cusps of the teeth, while a dental onlay is placed over a more extensive area over the cusps of the decayed tooth.


A typical treatment with a dental inlay or onlay requires two office visits.

Visit One:

  • The patient is numbed using local anesthesia in the area of the tooth to be treat
  • The tooth is prepared and cleaned by removing any old fillings and areas of decay or fractures using a dental drill
  • A dental impression is taken and sent to the dental lab, where a custom-fitted inlay or onlay is fabricated
  • The treated site is temporarily restored with a temporary filling until the second visit

Visit Two:

  • The temporary filling is removed
  • The custom-fitted inlay or onlay is cemented permanently
  • The bite is checked and adjusted, if necessary


The best way to care for dental inlays and onlays is the same as caring for natural teeth. Proper brushing, flossing, and a regular professional cleaning at the dentist office will give a long life to your new onlay or onlay.



  • Discomfort and sensitivity – it is common to have some mild discomfort and sensitivity following an inlay / onlay treatment. The discomfort typically resolves on its own within a few weeks after the inlay or onlay is cemented in place. Please contact the office if you have any concerns following your treatment.
  • Fallen inlay / onlay – over time, particularly with patients with poor oral hygiene habits, leakage can occur along the margin of the prepared natural tooth and the inlay / onlay. This leakage allows bacteria to seep in, causing decay. When this decay becomes extensive enough, the inlay / onlay is prone to falling out. To avoid that, the patients should focus on proper oral hygiene and visit our office for their regular 6-month cleaning and check-up.

If an inlay / onlay falls off completely, please contact our office immediately. While the inlay / onlay can be cleaned and temporarily placed back using over-the-counter temporary dental glue, the tooth will still be exposed to bacteria seeping in and further decay. The permanent inlay / onlay must be professionally recemented, and sometimes replaced altogether.


Most dental insurance plans cover dental inlays and onlays when needed to restore teeth with advanced decay or fractures, with the typical coverage ranging in the 50% – 80%. The coverage varies by plan, and is subject to certain restrictions. The best way to determine the insurance coverage for dental inlays / onlays is by submitting a pre-authorization request. The office of Dr. Mazen Natour will handle all insurance matters for its patients. Please call us if you have any questions about your coverage.