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Fillings are suitable for small to medium sized cavities/holes in back teeth. In instances where there is very little tooth surface left, your dentist may advise you to have an inlay or an onlay.


An inlay is a small jigsaw piece that fits into the biting surface of a tooth while an onlay covers a larger area of the tooth and is better suited to bigger cavities. For many years, gold has been used to make inlays and onlays because it is a hard material and lasts for a long time. Nowadays, tooth-coloured porcelain is also used and gives the restored tooth a more natural look, which many patients prefer.

Inlays and onlays can be made in a dental laboratory by highly skilled technician, with the help of impressions taken of your teeth. While these are being made, you will wear a temporary filling. When your inlay or onlay is ready your dentist will glue it into place using a special adhesive, after removing the temporary filling.