Ceramic fillings are dental fillings, which are made of ceramic and fixed into the tooth. They are used as an alternative to plastic fillings, as various advantages speak in favor of ceramics.

A ceramic filling is also called a ceramic inlay because it is placed in the tooth and bonded. A thin flowing resin or cement is used as the material for fixing the ceramic inlay.

Ceramic filling - ceramic inlay model for comparison

Ceramic filling materials

There are various ceramic materials which can be used for an inlay. All have their advantages and disadvantages and are differently suitable as tooth replacements.

Glass ceramic and feldspar ceramic

These two dental ceramics belong to the silicate ceramics and are very similar in properties. Both glass-ceramics and feldspar ceramics are very convincing from an esthetic point of view and can also be used as veneers.

The stability of these ceramics is acceptable. If greater forces are applied, the ceramic inlay may fracture. Consequently, such inlays should be adhesively bonded with acrylic.

The biology of these materials is very good.

These materials are most commonly used for ceramic inlays.

Hybrid ceramics

This is a framework made of silicate ceramic, which is infiltrated with plastic. Hybrid ceramics show high resilience and high elasticity, absorbing cracks and fractures.

These inlays should be adhesively cemented with acrylic.

The biology of these materials is good.

Zirconia ceramic

Zirconium oxide is a non-porous high-performance ceramic from which ceramic implants are also made. Due to the addition of various oxides, forces are strongly intercepted, which prevents cracks from spreading. Consequently, zirconia can withstand very high forces without breaking.

In the laboratory, the milled zirconia blank must be fired (sintered) at about 1200 degrees Celsius, which shrinks it by about 20-30% and gives it its high hardness.

Due to the firing process and high stability, zirconia does not dissolve and has an absolutely neutral effect on the body. The biology is therefore excellent.

Zirconia inlays can be cemented adhesively with acrylic or conventionally with cement. At the same time, the choice of fastening should always be selected according to individual considerations.

Thanks to the dental laboratory in the dental office, we can produce high-quality, laboratory-made ceramic inlays in one treatment.

You are welcome to contact us at any time.

Amalgam removal and ceramic fillings

Procedure at the dentist

Ceramic inlays are highly recommended in the following situations:

  • When amalgam removal is necessary
  • if an old plastic filling or an old gold inlay is leaking and should be renewed
  • in the case of caries requiring treatment

First of all, the amalgam fillings or plastic fillings and caries are removed. The entire maxilla and mandible, including the created cavities, are photographed with an intraoral scanner. In this way, a 3D situation of the dentition can be digitally generated and sent to the dental laboratory.

The intraoral scan can avoid unpleasant impressions with tray and paste.

Production of ceramic fillings

Laboratory production

Production in the dental laboratory provides the highest precision and the best quality in the production of a ceramic filling.

The dental technician has the possibility to produce individual tooth models from plaster or plastic and to precisely adjust the inlays.

Furthermore, the material can be additionally fired and further refined, which makes the material more valuable.

The dental technician in the laboratory also has many options in terms of aesthetics and can produce ceramic inlays that blend in ideally with the tooth in terms of appearance.


CEREC stands for CEramic REConstruction. The intraoral scan is processed on a computer and sent to a milling machine. The milling machine grinds out the matching ceramic filling from a ceramic block.

A major advantage of CEREC is the time saved for both patient and dentist.

However, ceramic inlays from the laboratory show a better fit and precision.

Chairside production

Chairside production describes the manufacture of ceramic dentures directly in the dental practice, at the treatment chair. This means that patients who have to travel a long way can be treated with high-quality ceramic inlays in a single treatment.

Chairside fabrication is possible with the help of CEREC or a dental laboratory in the dental office.

Depending on the size of the defect and the choice of material, approximately 1 hour can be calculated per ceramic inlay.

Advantages of ceramic fillings

  • Ceramic fillings show high durability and stability. Provided that patients have a good bacterial flora, ceramic fillings can also last a lifetime.
  • Since the filling is adjusted outside the mouth, the shape can be better reproduced, according to the anatomical conditions. This allows tooth contacts to be ideally adjusted so that no food remains between the teeth.
  • Biological compatibility is best with ceramic inlay.

Disadvantages of ceramic fillings

  • For the correct fit of a ceramic filling, it is necessary to grind off a little more substance from the tooth.
  • Ceramic inlays are more complex to manufacture and process, resulting in higher costs.

Cost of ceramic inlays

Generally, the cost depends on the material used and the extent of the tooth defect.

Ceramic fillings made using the CEREC procedure cost approximately CHF 1000.

Lab-fabricated ceramic inlays range from approx. 1200 CHF to 1600 CHF.

Alternatives to ceramic fillings

Plastic fillings

Fillings made of plastic have proven their worth for many years and show a good restoration of the tooth. The fillings have a soft consistency at the beginning and are inserted and modeled by the dentist into the tooth defect. After that, they are cured with a UV lamp, which gives the final hardness of the resin fillings.

Compared to the ceramic filling, the plastic filling show disadvantages in longevity and biology.

In the case of larger defects in the tooth, the correct anatomical tooth shapes can only be restored to a limited extent. So that food residues can get stuck between the teeth. Especially in such cases, ceramic inlays are the better choice.

Gold fillings / gold inlays

Gold fillings were frequently and readily made in the past. These show long durability and stability.

Due to various disadvantages, they are used less and less:

  • Gold inlays exhibit unnatural, gold-colored aesthetics and tend to be rejected by patients.
  • Gold fillings are a health concern. The gold consists of various metals, which enter the body through corrosion and abrasion
  • Due to the constantly rising gold prices, gold fillings are relatively expensive.
Exposure to metals in the mouth

Amalgam fillings

Amalgam fillings are still preferred by many dentists because they are very durable and easy for the dentist to handle.

However, this is countered by the following disadvantageous points:

  • Amalgam consists of 50% mercury and is very harmful to health.
  • Amalgam is silvery and aesthetically unpleasing.

Especially the health aspect speaks against inserting amalgam into the teeth. Please read more about amalgam removal.

FAQ on the subject of ceramic inlays

What are the options for mounting?

Ceramic inlays can be bonded with resin or cemented with a cement. Which method is used depends on the type of ceramic and the shape of the tooth defect.

During cementation, the dentist should ensure that no moisture gets to the materials used, as they are sensitive to moisture.

With the materials used, we pay great attention to compatibility and high durability.

How long does it take to make ceramic inlays

Ceramic inlays can be made in one appointment. The production time is approx. 30 minutes to 1 hour per inlay, depending on the process and material. During this time, the treatment is interrupted and the patient has a break.

Can ceramic inlays also be used in the front?

Ceramic inlays can also be used to restore incisors and canines. If the ceramic restoration covers the entire front surface of anterior teeth, it is called veneers.

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