Porcelain Dental Inlays and Onlays in Calgary

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What Are Dental Inlays and Onlays?

Porcelain inlays and onlays are used to restore weakened or damaged teeth. A dental inlay is the filling that is placed inside the tooth after it’s cleaned while the dental onlay is the sealant that is applied to the surface of the tooth. Porcelain dental inlays and onlays are generally stronger and longer lasting than regular fillings but do not offer quite as much coverage as crowns.

Inlays and onlays are recommended for those with large areas of tooth decay or damage that has not yet compromised the tooth structure enough to warrant a porcelain crown.

The Porcelain Dental Inlay and Onlay Process

Prepare The Teeth

We will numb the area. If the restoration will replace an old filling, the filling is carefully removed. If the inlay or onlay is addressing decay, the bacteria will be taken out of the tooth. We will then smooth and shape the area to make room for the inlay.

Custom Inlay and Onlay Is Created

A mold is taken of your tooth to create a custom inlay or onlay. Once it’s finished being made it will be placed. If we need to take an impression for our laboratory to construct your inlay or onlay you’ll get a functional temporary restoration that will rest in place until your next appointment— no one wants to walk around with a great big hole in their tooth!


Once the inlay or onlay is created, will place the inlay or only into your teeth to be sealed. We will then evaluate your bite to ensure everything fits comfortably.

Find A Natural Fix For Your Teeth

A custom inlay and onlay will remove decay and strengthen your teeth.

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Benefits Of Porcelain Dental Inlays and Onlays

Given a choice between porcelain and other materials, the former is always a smarter option. Here are a few of the benefits that porcelain dental inlays and onlays are better:

Better Fit

Dental inlays and onlays are custom-made for each patient to provide the best fit possible!

Matches Your Natural Teeth

Porcelain inlays are available in a range of colours so we can select a shade that matches the colour and tone of your natural teeth. Once installed, the porcelain blends with existing teeth, creating a beautiful, natural smile.

Stain Resistant

You won’t need to worry about discoloration and staining from tobacco, wines, sodas, and caffeinated drinks because porcelain is more resistant to staining, helping you maintain the natural colour of your teeth for many years to come!

Long-Term Durability

These porcelain restorations are durable, giving you results that are built to last for at least 10 to 30 years — as long as you maintain proper dental hygiene habits such as brushing, flossing, and regular dental cleanings.

Strengthen & Restores Functionality

Porcelain inlays or onlays are used to restore the structure and functionality of your teeth, minimizing the risk of additional damage, and avoiding the option of extraction in the future. Porcelain can strengthen the tooth by 75%!

Prevents Tooth Loss

A dental inlay or only fills in the structure of your tooth, helping you avoid immediate extraction. For example, inlays and onlays are often used after a root canal to support the overall structure of the tooth after the inner pulp has been removed.

Easy To Care For

Caring for porcelain inlays and onlays doesn’t require any additional or special maintenance. Simply continue brushing, flossing, and coming in for regular dental cleanings.


Inlays and onlays are classified as indirect dental restorations, meaning that they are created in our lab and affixed to teeth in a second visit. Fillings, on the other hand, are direct dental treatments, since they are applied directly to teeth and can be done in one visit.

The porcelain used to create inlays and onlays has the ability to protect and strengthen teeth more than fillings, which are used to fill in small areas of decay or damage as reinforcement. Not only are they stronger, but unlike fillings, the ceramic is unlikely to compress after setting. As a result, you have a lower possibility of developing gaps between the filling and tooth walls where food particles can accumulate and cause problems. Further, the surface of the inlay is more likely to resist wearing away over time as you continue to use it for eating. Inlays and onlays also resemble the qualities of tooth enamel more so than the composite material used in fillings, helping you achieve a more natural-looking smile!

Often times, the empty space left behind after damage or decay is too large to be covered with a filling. In that case, porcelain inlays may be a more effective option. Each indirect filling is customized to match the exact shape and size of the empty gap to ensure a perfect fit! In case a cavity was too big, you might receive a temporary dental filling until the customized inlays are ready for fitting.

Yes, the inlay and only procedure can be done in as little as one visit using CEREC technology (Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics). CEREC technology is an innovative process of creating porcelain inlays and onlays. Dentists use a small infrared camera to take scans of the dental cavity and assess the shape of the required indirect filling. The computerized CEREC machine uses the scans to mill the inlay from a single block of porcelain while you wait. As soon as the prosthetic is ready, the doctor attaches it to the tooth right away.

This system is suitable for patients who would prefer to complete the treatment at a single appointment. Further, patients who have a quick gag reflex and cannot give dental impressions can also opt for the CEREC technology. Occasionally we may still need to take an impression for our laboratory to construct your inlay or onlay which would require two visits, but the majority of the time one visit is required.

The total expense of the treatment can depend on various factors including:

  • Your location
  • The level of expertise of the dentist performing the treatment
  • The size of the indirect fillings you need
  • The number of teeth that need porcelain inlays and onlays
  • The type of teeth that need treatment (e.g. molars vs canines)
  • The material you’ve chosen for the indirect filling
  • The type of impression being made (e.g. using CEREC technology)

We’ll provide an estimate of the all costs after your consultation, typically, porcelain inlays may cost you anywhere from $250 to $1,500. Porcelain onlays are more expensive ranging from $350 and $1,500 since they are larger in size. Contact our office for more information on costs.

Depending on the terms and conditions of your insurance policy, dental treatment like porcelain inlays and onlays fall into categories such as “basic” or “major” services.

Some insurance companies consider indirect fillings as basic treatment along with regular teeth cleaning, fillings, and other dental work. Further, they may have pre-set limits on the coverage they provide. You might be able to get about 80% reimbursement for the costs, which can vary according to the area where you live and the type of porcelain inlays or onlays you need. On the other hand, if the treatment falls in the major category, the insurance carrier may cover only 50% of the total expense. At the time of making your decision, check with your insurance provider first.

About Dr. Jennifer Silver

Dr. Jennifer Silver has been fixing smiles in Calgary for over 15 years! She understands that every patient is different and will work with you directly to ensure your unique needs are met. If you’re considering inlays or onlays, Dr. Silver holds the experience required to help you fix your smile.

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