Is there Anything I Should or Shouldn’t do Afterwards?

If the dentist needs to temporise the tooth, whilst the inlay is being made in the laboratory, to stop it from being sensitive and to prevent bacteria getting into the tooth, then I advise the same precautions as for a temporary crown:

  • Take it easy on that side.
  • Appreciate that you have a temporary and that it is much weaker than a normal tooth so treat it with care.
  • Often just being aware and conscious that you have a temporary on that side will do the trick and prevent you from chewing anything too hard.
  • Where possible consider chewing on the other side.
  • Pull the floss through when you are flossing rather than pulling it back up which may dislodge the temporary. Some dentists will advise avoiding flossing around that tooth altogether.

Generally there are very little side effects after having an inlay/ onlay and you are able to chew as normal and return to work pretty much as soon as you leave the dentist.

Anaesthetic will take a few hours to wear off, so just be careful during this period. See- How long will the anaesthetic take to wear off? for more information.

Sometimes the numbness can make it a bit difficult to get you to bite in your natural position and so if after a few days it doesn’t feel normal again, return to your dentist who will make the necessary adjustments and polish it down to the right height in your bite.

It is also possible the inlay/onlay feels a little rough once the anaesthetic has worn off. Often this will smooth down naturally after a couple of days of normal eating and chewing. If it persists, just pop back to your dentist; there may be a little excess cement remaining.

It is a good idea to reflect briefly on why the treatment was necessary in the first place. If it was because the tooth was heavily broken down- ask yourself how could you have taken steps to prevent dental treatment in the first place. For example, if it was a cracked tooth because you were grinding – then you should get a night splint made. If it was because of a very heavily filled tooth, then the chances are the cause was decay. Frequent dental visits, better brushingflossing good diet and fluoride are key to preventing it from happening again.

Will I get Pain after the Inlay or Onlay?

Not really, sometimes a bit of soreness from the gum or perhaps a bit of sensitivity if the tooth hasn’t had a root canal filling. Everything should be back to normal within a couple of days.

What are the Risks, Potential Complications and Possible Side Effects?

The potential risks and complications of having a filling are the same for inlays and onlays. As with any restoration, the nerve could potentially play up if the cavity was very deep and the inlay (though it is unlikely if bonded correctly) could potentially come out. As mentioned before, as long as you have it, should this happen, it can generally just be stuck back in.<

What Determines the Success and Life on your Inlay/ Onlay?

A number of factors will determine how long your inlay/onlay will last– the most important are a:

  • Good dentist
  • Good lab technician
  • Quality impression
  • Suitable choice of inlay/onlay material
  • Suitable choice of cement to bond it in with
  • Good dry technique to stick it in.


  • How you look after it (oral hygiene)
  • The amount of good tooth remaining
  • The shape of the cavity
  • The design of the restoration
  • How you bite together.

All these factors will all impact on how successful your inlay/onlay is and how long it will last.