Restoring teeth with seamless beauty and lasting strength.

The basics

Many may already be familiar with the dental crown, which is essentially a “cap” that envelops a tooth completely to either protect it structurally (such as for a broken tooth, or post-root canal treatment), or enhance its appearance (ie. to mask a chip or discolouration). But what are inlays and onlays?

Similar to a crown, these are also indirect dental restorations used to repair a damaged or decayed tooth, meaning the entire restoration is fabricated outside of the mouth and then bonded to the tooth structure. They are conservative and durable solutions that fall between a “filling” and a crown in terms of size and coverage. Dental Inlays, or Onlays Calgary, are typically used when a tooth has sustained damage or decay that is too extensive for a traditional dental filling but not severe enough to necessitate a full dental crown. 

Comparatively, dental inlays are smaller than onlays and are used to repair a specific area within the biting surface (occlusal surface) of a tooth, and does not extend to the cusps or edges. Dental Onlays in SW Calgary,on the other hand cover a greater portion of the tooth’s surface, including one or more cusps, and are employed when one or more tooth cusp is damaged or needs to be protected.

Why it may serve your tooth better

A lot of times, an inlay/onlay may look very similar to a filling, so you may ask, how would they benefit me exactly?

The modern-day “white fillings” or “tooth-colored fillings” are direct restorations made from a resin-based material (composite resin). After the tooth has been cleaned and prepared (aka after drilling), dollops of resin are placed onto the tooth directly, shaped by the dentist, and then hardened with a special UV light. Over time, the resin material becomes prone to degradation and may chip or fracture. The inlay or onlay is either cast from a gold alloy or milled from a monolithic block of ceramic material and is designed to precisely fit the contours of the prepared tooth, including the cusps. While a filling is likely sufficient for the repair of small cavities, when it comes to larger restorations on the back teeth, inlays and onlays have shown significantly better longevity, higher long-term success, and increased durability. 

Less is more

Compared to full coverage crowns which envelopes the tooth structure underneath completely, the greatest benefit of dental inlays in SW Calgary and onlays is that their preparation requires less removal of tooth material, conserving as much of your healthy tooth structure as possible. As such, dental inlays near you and dental onlays near you may be the perfect happy medium. 

At Chinook Smiles, we are thrilled to offer our patients remarkable CEREC technology. Within one appointment, you will walk out with your new ceramic crown, inlay, or onlay so you can get back to your busy life without skipping a beat.


  • Clinical Behavior of Ceramic, Hybrid and Composite Onlays. A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Naia Bustamante-Hernández, Jose María Montiel-Company, Carlos Bellot-Arcís, José Félix Mañes-Ferrer, María Fernanda Solá-Ruíz, Rubén Agustín-Panadero,* and Lucía Fernández-Estevan. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Oct; 17(20): 7582.
  • Ceramic Inlay Effectiveness Versus Other Restorative Treatments: A Literature Review. Aya A Salama, Omnia Nabil, Mohamed A Mokhtar1 and Mohamed M Radwan. J Dentistry. 2019; 1(1): 3