The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that 92 percent of adults have had a cavity and 26 percent are currently living with untreated cavities. Unless the condition is treated by a dental professional, decay will eventually spread to other parts of the tooth and can eventually lead to tooth loss. While a dental filling can help seal a tooth after decay is removed, more extensive cases may require inlays or onlays. Dr. Maurice Benjamin has over 30 years of experience in restorative dentistry and uses conservative, gentle methods to repair patients' smiles at our offices in Manhattan and Brooklyn. He can make the best treatment recommendation based on your unique needs.

Inlays vs. Onlays

Both inlays and onlays are crafted outside of the mouth before being secured into place. While an inlay fits inside the edges of the tooth, an onlay extends over the raised cusps. 

Illustration of inlay and onlay

Onlays extend down one or more sides of a damaged tooth.

Do I Need an Inlay or Onlay? 

A filling is often sufficient treatment for a cavity. However, Dr. Benjamin may recommend an inlay or onlay for more comprehensive protection if:

  • Your cavity is located on a back molar, where teeth sustain greater pressure
  • You have too much decay for a filling, but not enough decay to warrant a dental crown

Dr. Benjamin will recommend which type of restoration will provide the most effective form of long-term coverage during your appointment. 

Benefits over Other Restorations 

Inlays and onlays are typically made from porcelain so they are incredibly natural-looking. Compared to dental crowns, these restorations require less alteration of the natural tooth structure. Inlays and onlays are also generally less expensive than dental crowns. 

With proper care, inlays and onlays can last 10 years or more.

In addition to their lifelike aesthetics and comprehensive coverage, inlays and onlays can last for years with proper care. One study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that these ceramic restorations showed high survival rates at five and 10 years after placement

Step-by-Step Treatment Process

Depending on the condition of your smile and other factors, Dr. Benjamin can typically complete treatment over two appointments. 


In order to accurately determine the extent of your decay, Dr. Benjamin may take digital x-rays or create 3-D images of your smile. These tools allow him to assess the health of your tooth, determining whether a filling can treat your decay or whether an inlay or onlay is more appropriate. 

Removing Decay 

Dr. Benjamin will numb and prepare your tooth by removing damaged portions. Our team employs a conservative approach to preserve as much of your natural tooth structure as possible. We can provide sedation, including nitrous oxide, if you feel anxious about your treatment.

Digital Impressions

Rather than using traditional putty impressions, which can be messy and uncomfortable, Dr. Benjamin will acquire digital impressions of your smile using the Cadent iTero® scanner. 


Your digital impressions will be sent to a partner dental laboratory. While your restoration is being manufactured, we can provide a temporary restoration to avoid further damage to your tooth. 


When your final restoration is returned from the lab, you will come back to our office for placement. Your restoration will be bonded and sealed into place with a specialized curing light. Prior to sending you home, Dr. Benjamin will conduct various assessments to ensure that the restoration fits naturally and does not disrupt your bite. 

Protect Your Smile

At All American Smile Dental Studios, your oral health is our number one priority. To learn more about your treatment options, contact us online or call us at (718) 336-1109.