To treat tooth decay or similar damage, inlays and onlays can often be used instead of regular fillings. Traditional dental fillings are molded into place during your visit, but that is not the case with inlays and onlays. Those are made in a dental lab, and then bonded and fitted to your tooth by your dentist.
In some instances, using inlays and onlays instead of full coverage dental crowns could be a better alternative. Inlays and onlays, also called indirect fillings, give a stronger, well-fitted, and longer lasting resolution to tooth decay and similar damage.
The term “inlay” refers to the instance when the material is bonded in the center of the tooth. “Onlay” means that one or more cusps (or points) of the tooth requires inclusion, or that the entire biting surface needs coverage.