Expanding the boundaries of dentistry is an important mission for Nashville dentist Dr. Forbes at the Center for Advanced Dentistry. Porcelain inlays and onlays give our patients an alternative to composite fillings that is more attractive, more stain-resistant, and longer-lasting.


If you are in Nashville and need a general and cosmetic dentist with advanced training in neuromuscular science to place an inlay or onlay, please contact the Center for Advanced Dentistry online or call (615) 383-6787 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Forbes.

Why Inlays and Onlays?

Our Nashville dentist knows the way teeth can take a beating. Four things that tend to take a toll on your teeth include:

  • Decay
  • Wear
  • Disease
  • Older metal fillings

Inlays and onlays are a type of porcelain filling that is custom-crafted for your tooth. With the tight bond, these fillings prevent the infiltration of food as well as bacteria that cause decay.

Inlays refer to smaller fillings that normally sit entirely inside the top of the tooth. An onlay is a filling that extends over one or more of the edges or points in your teeth (called cusps).

Why Porcelain?

Standard silver or mercury fillings and metal-based crowns used to be our only options for saving natural teeth. Now we have porcelain crowns and bridges, advanced tooth-colored resin materials instead of fillings, and porcelain inlays and onlays.

Since porcelain inlays and onlays are precisely matched to the damaged area of your tooth and bonded into place, they hold teeth together rather than spreading them apart, which is what metal tends to do inside a tooth. In fact, because metal expands, metal fillings actually cause teeth to crack over time. Porcelain inlays and onlays can actually add strength to decayed or damaged teeth.

Porcelain is also the most attractive restoration material. Metal fillings are obvious, and when metal amalgam fillings oxidize and turn black they can look as bad as having big cavities in your teeth. Composite resin fillings are similar in color to your natural teeth and can be polished to mimic the luster of tooth enamel. But they can stain over time, and they will lose their luster as they are worn down. Porcelain fillings look almost identical to tooth enamel in color and luster, and with the labs we use–which are certified in biomimetic principles–they can be given natural shapes, something that is hard to achieve with composite fillings.

Porcelain is more durable than resin. That means it is better suited to withstand the years of the impact caused by biting and chewing. Some studies of porcelain fillings show that they have the lowest failure rates of any materials over the long term.

Drawbacks of Porcelain Inlays and Onlays

Porcelain inlays and onlays do have some limitations. First, they are more expensive than other types of fillings. However, that’s only the immediate cost. The long-term cost is more comparable because inlays and onlays do not need as much replacing or additional work over time.

Also, porcelain inlays and onlays require a second visit to be fitted. During the first visit, your tooth will be prepared to receive the filling, and we will take impressions of your teeth.

These impressions are then sent to a lab, where your fillings will be custom-crafted for you. In the meantime, you will wear a temporary filling.

To book your appointment with Dr. Forbes, please contact the Center for Advanced Dentistry online or call (615) 383-6787.