Dental INLAYS & ONLAYS in Medford, OR

When your teeth are in need of restoration, there are a lot of great methods that we have to fix them. Two of these restoration methods are inlays and onlays. Not as well-known as more typical dental restoration procedures like crowns and fillings, inlays and onlays offer us unique and helpful ways to adapt to specific scenarios with your teeth.

What Inlays and Onlays are Used to Do

Fillings are typically used in cases where the amount of alteration needed to restore the tooth is fairly minimal and crowns are usually use to restore teeth that need a lot work to bring them back to a healthy state. Inlays and onlays are more of a middle ground to tooth restoration, where a part of the tooth is still viable but another part is in need of help.


Let’s say you bite something that is known to chip and damage teeth, like an ice cube, and in the process crack off a piece of one of your molars. In a case like this we can recreate the section of your tooth that was lost, place it onto the tooth and adhere it with permanent dental cement, and you would have a fully functional tooth again! Onlays are used to replace one or more cusps of the tooth and are generally larger than inlays.


Fillings have lifespans. At some point fillings typically fail and require replacement. If you were to lose a filling in the cusp (chewing surface) of the tooth we might choose to replace it with an inlay.

If the restoration includes one or more of the cusps, or falls outside the cusps, it is generally called an onlay. If the restoration sits within the cusp of a tooth, it’s called an inlay.

Process of Placing a Dental Inlay or Onlay

It usually takes two trips to our office to have one of these restorations placed. During the first visit, we prepare the tooth to receive the appliance and during the second visit we place it.

The first step is preparing the tooth, if we are replacing a filling preparation would involve removing the filling and dealing with any damage or decay that may have taken place below it. We generally start by administering a local anesthetic to the area to ensure your comfort. We will take an impression or mold of the area that the restoration will be used to fill. This impression will be sent to our dental lab so that they can craft an exact replica of the portion of the tooth that we are replacing. To conclude the first visit to our office we will usually fit your tooth with a temporary restoration.

During the second visit we will remove the temporary restoration and place the permanent inlay or only. We will polish and smooth the areas around and within the restoration to create a perfect aesthetic.

To schedule your appointment, please call us today at 541-779-6401. If you experience a dental emergency we will do our best to schedule you as soon as possible, same day if possible.