Dental onlays and inlays, referred to as indirect dental restorations, are also recommended for certain situations. A dental filling is a direct restoration because we place it directly in the mouth in one procedure versus a dental onlay or inlay which is made outside the mouth and cemented in. Similarly to the process of a dental crown, veneer, or bridge, which is made outside the mouth and cemented, therefore, referred to as an indirect dental restoration.
Dental onlays are indirect dental restorations recommended in certain situations when one or more cusps need coverage acting as a partial crown, but do not necessarily need a full coverage dental crown. Dental inlays are indirect dental restorations that are used when cusps are not included and are act as alternatives to dental fillings where the tooth damage maybe more substantial.