When a cavity is so large that a composite filling will not provide sufficient restoration, we often encourage the patient to opt for a porcelain filling, which is commonly called an inlay or onlay, or a three-quarter crown. Like porcelain crowns, porcelain fillings are made of a solid piece of porcelain.


A composite resin filling is created from a tooth-colored plastic, which is placed into a prepared cavity to restore the tooth after decay is removed. Composites begin as a liquid, and are then hardened with a curing light. In contrast, a porcelain filling is created using CEREC technology, a computer-aided design and manufacturing system that we have in our office.

Inlays and onlays are more durable and long-lasting than composite fillings, and they provide a less invasive restoration than a dental crown. With shade matching, we will make sure that the dental ceramic used for your filling will accurately mimic the color of surrounding teeth, so it will look completely natural.

Dentists who do not have CEREC must send out to a dental lab for restorations. CEREC provides custom-fabricated, all-porcelain fillings and crowns in a single dental visit. As our patient, if you need a ceramic filling or crown, we will design and place the permanent restoration in a single visit. You won’t have to wear a potentially faulty temporary or attend two or more visits.


A CEREC filling has many benefits over composites and full crowns. These include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Stronger than a composite filling
  • Lasts longer than a composite filling
  • Made onsite with our CAD/CAM technology, instead of in a dental lab
  • Porcelain/ceramic blends beautifully with natural teeth, unlike metal
  • No temporary restoration required
  • Designed and placed in just one visit to our office
  • Can provide an alternative to a full crown, in some cases


The top of your tooth has multiple ridges (known as cusps); between the ridges is a small groove. When we fill that groove with a ceramic filling, the restoration is referred to as an inlay. An onlay is similar. However, it replaces one of the cusps and can extend down the side of the tooth.

Both restorations effectively fill the decayed or damaged area to restore the tooth’s shape, appearance, strength, and comfortable function.


You may require a ceramic filling if you have a large cavity, a broken or chipped tooth, or a failing filling that needs replacement. All these situations can cause discomfort and interfere with comfortable oral function. You may chew on the opposite side of your mouth or avoid cold and hot foods because they cause pain. Because tooth structure will never heal on its own, if you have a toothache, you need to see the dentist.

Schedule a consultation to discuss your need for a porcelain crown. Contact our Englewood dental office at (303) 762-8046.

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