Teeth that have tooth decay have multiple options to restore them back to health.  Depending on the diagnosis of the tooth, extent of decay/fracture and remaining tooth support, it is possible our dentists may recommend an inlay or onlay.


Both inlays and onlays are utilized to restore a decayed or broken tooth as it is important to conserve as much tooth structure as possible. Additionally, inlays and onlays can strengthen and protect the health of the tooth. Luckily, this cosmetic dentistry office near Northbrook offers both. However, how can we differentiate the two?



An inlay is typically used if you have a cavity that is too large for a traditional filling. If a dental filling isn’t used, an inlay is another option. The inlay is a single, solid piece that fits the specific shape and size of the cavity. First, the dentist removes the tooth decay and then an impression is taken of the tooth for the fabrication of the inlay. Normally, inlays are made from porcelain—similar to veneers—and are more durable than a regular tooth filling due to the material strength.



An onlay is both similar to an inlay and a crown—it’s somewhere in between. The onlay typically covers a cusp or the chewing surface of the tooth. It is also fabricated as a single and solid piece.  An onlay’s design is to preserve tooth structure when compared to a traditional crown as the advent of adhesives allow less aggressive preparation of the tooth.


As a cosmetic dentistry office serving Northbrook, Chicago Beautiful Smiles offers cosmetic dentistry serving Northbrook and can help you determine which type of restoration would be best suited for your needs.

Contact us today for more information.