How much does an Inlay or Onlay Cost?

Costs vary widely and depend on a number of variables (discussed below) this is a guide based on information from the Australian Dental Association 2012 fee survey where available.

In general the price range for inlays/ onlays is $700-$1300.

Like filling prices, inlays are generally charged on the number of tooth surfaces that they involve but in addition there is the lab fee to consider, so the price range becomes greater.

The item numbers for an inlay begin with 55 and the last digit tells you how many surfaces the restoration goes on to. This will be between 1 and 5. But whilst it is possible to do a 551 the dentist would be more likely to just do a one surface filling instead.

  • 551= 1 surface indirect restoration
  • 552= 2 surface indirect restoration
  • 553= 3 surface indirect restoration
  • 554= 4 surface indirect restoration
  • 555= 5 surface indirect restoration

Remember indirect restoration simply means it is made outside the mouth. Inlays, onlays and crowns are all examples.

The biggest price difference will come down to the individual dentist as there are no set limits on what they can charge- just guidelines issued by the ADA. The next biggest factor influencing the price will be the type of material used. With the prices of gold sky rocketing the cost of a gold inlay could be more. The lab will charge the dentist the amount of gold used to make the restoration, so the bigger the inlay/onlay the more it will end up costing.

Specialist providers may have their fees set by certain health funds and these tend to be cheaper than private prices. Some dentists will be more expensive than others but, as I have said before, you should never select your dentist on price alone. I would always advise against going for the very cheapest, as you often get what you pay for, but whether very expensive inlays are justifiably better than moderately priced inlays and onlays, it is difficult to say. It comes down to the quality of work provided by both the technician and the dentist. A happy medium, with a dentist you trust, is the best solution.

Indirect restorations (like crowns) often seem very expensive, but it is important to understand that whenever there is a laboratory fee involved, the cost will be considerably higher. In this case, the cost of making an inlay/onlay may be $200- $500. This is the cost that the dentist has to pay for the work, and so it is factored into the price. In addition the inlay procedure is often longer than a filling and involves two visits, so you are paying for more of the dentist’s time.

Like a crown, the value comes in the long term when you have had it in place for over 20 years. All being well.

Remember there are likely to be certain costs in addition to the actual inlay/onlay such as the initial consultation and discussion of the different treatment options for your tooth. An X-ray is also nearly always required before doing treatment like this.

Thus you may be charged initially for:

ITEM 013 or 014- A limited examination or consultation ($40-60)

ITEM 022- X-rays -To check underneath the tooth. ($35-50 each).

What is the Rebate on a Dental Crown?

To be able to check your out of pocket expenses, you need the item numbers for any treatment you will be having. Only your dentist will be able to provide you with these after he has examined you and discussed the various different treatment options with you.

When you have this information, referred to as a treatment plan, you can call or go into your health fund and ask them what your rebate is on each particular item number. This way you can work out the gap and know exactly what it is going to cost you out of pocket.