Onlays are restorations made especially for you with composite, tooth-colored resin or gold. Porcelain onlays are the most common because they look like natural teeth. Onlays, sometimes called partial crowns, are crafted in a dental lab and then cemented in place by a dentist.
Onlays are a conservative alternative for teeth with large areas where fillings have been compromised by trauma or decay. They are a smart alternative to caps since less of the tooth structure is removed to place the onlay. Essentially, an onlay is the same thing as an inlay except that one or more chewing cusps is affected and must be restored as well.
Like most dental restoration procedures, onlays are not always permanent and will likely eventually need to be replaced. They are, however, very durable and can last many years.
Choose onlays for:
- Fractured or broken teeth
- Cosmetic enhancement of teeth
- Badly decayed teeth
- Broken fillings
- Very large fillings
What is involved in getting an onlay?
Setting an onlay usually happens over two appointments. During the first appointment, molds or impressions are made from which the custom-designed onlay and a temporary restoration are made. Then while the tooth is numb, old filling material and decay are removed. After thorough cleaning and preparations, the surface is shaped to correctly fit an onlay restoration. A temporary filling is done to protect the tooth and increase comfort while the onlay is being made in a dental lab.
During the second appointment, the new onlay is cemented in place. Adjustments are made as necessary to make sure the fit is perfect and the bite is acceptable.
Care instructions are given after the treatment. As with any restoration, good oral hygiene, a good diet and seeing a dentist regularly are important for prolonging the life of the onlay.
To find out how porcelain onlays can work for you, call us at (619) 640-5100 for a free consultation with Dr. Paige Woods, DDS