Dental inlays and onlays are restorations used to repair teeth that have a mild to moderate amount of decay. They can also be used to restore teeth that are cracked or fractured if the damage is not severe enough.
Inlays and onlays are usually made from porcelain, composite resin, and sometimes even from gold. Because they can also be created from tooth-colored materials, they are often used to replace metal dental fillings for patients who desire a more natural looking smile.
Your dentist will recommend the best choice between a simple filling, a crown, or an inlay / onlay by reference to the type of tooth and the location and extent of damage.
Inlays are the restorations on the space in the center of the occlusal surface, without covering any of the cusp of the tooth.
Onlays are the restorations that extend in at least one or more cusps of the tooth. They are usually larger than the inlays and can even replace the entire occlusal surface of the tooth.