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Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and Onlays in San Antonio, TX

Tooth decay and damage are common, so our skilled dentists offer many restorative and cosmetic dentistry methods that address aesthetics, structure, and function. So, what should one do if a tooth filling won’t suffice, but a dental crown is too drastic?

At Local Dental San Antonio, Dr. Joung Lee and Dr. Minkyung Lee recommend dental inlays and onlays for those that need tooth repair for mid-sized tooth problems.

What are dental inlays and onlays?

Our dentists use inlays and onlays for moderate cavities. They are solid pieces of ceramic that are adhered to the tooth.

An inlay covers the area between the cusps (the pointed part of the tooth). On the other hand, dental onlays extend beyond the cusp and onto the chewing surfaces but are not quite as extensive as dental crowns

Treatment Expectations

Since dental fillings, inlays, onlays, and crowns are all used to restore teeth after damage or decay, it can be tricky for patients to understand which treatment they need. The simple characteristic we look at when deciding on treatment is the size of the damage:


Dental Filling

Mid-Sized (and Between the Tooth Cusps)

Dental Inlay

Mid-Sized (and Beyond the Tooth Cusps)

Dental Onlay



Treatment Expectations

For new patients, we strongly suggest filling out new patient forms and submitting insurance information for a more efficient first visit.

How long do dental inlays and onlays take? Typically, we spread inlay and onlay installation over two appointments. The first appointment is for preparation, while the second is for installation.

Furthermore, we’ve outlined what to expect before, during, and after each dental inlay or onlay procedure


First, our dentists employ visual and physical exams as well as dental x-rays to check for signs of decay and damage. If our dentists determine that a dental inlay or onlay is the best choice, they will prepare the tooth and take impressions. Then, they will send these impressions to our dental laboratory and place a temporary restoration.


When the restoration returns from the laboratory, Dr. Lee gently etches the tooth and cements the inlay or onlay to the tooth after ensuring a perfect fit.


The first 48 hours after the procedure are the key to longevity. We suggest avoiding foods that are too hot, too cold, stick, or hard. Enjoy plenty of soft foods for the first few days. It's normal to feel numb or sore a day or two after the procedure. Soon, these post-procedure effects will wear off, and inlay and onlay patients can return to their everyday routines with excellent oral hygiene.
Inlays and Onlays are a Long-Lasting, Natural-Looking Solution

The best way to decide how to repair your smile is to schedule a consultation with a local dentist. Drs. Joung and Minkyung Lee can review your options and help you decide which restorative and cosmetic dentistry option is ideal.

Take advantage of our online booking or conveniently call (210) 686-1486. The San Antonio community can trust the Local Dental team to keep individuals and families healthy, happy, and feeling at home.