Porcelain onlays or partial crowns are carefully made in a dental lab to fit your mouth precisely. They’re more conservative than full crowns, which may require removing some healthy tooth material to fit in place. And they look just like real teeth, providing a good cosmetic appearance – and better function than fillings and other restorations in many cases.
If you have a tooth that has been damaged by a large amount of decay or trauma of some kind, an onlay could be just what you need to preserve what you have and provide the best replacement for what’s already gone. Onlays are one of many restoration types we have available at Brighton Dental San Diego, and Dr. Woods is ready to help you.
It’s easy to confuse an onlay with an inlay. That’s because they’re the same thing in many ways. Both are lab-made restorations created especially for you by a technician, not something built up in our office. What makes an onlay different from an inlay is where it’s placed. An onlay is used for a restoration when one or more of the chewing cusps of a tooth needs to be replaced. With an inlay, these cusps are not involved.
Onlays are durable restorations that look great and restore natural function. While no dental restoration lasts forever, a well-made and well-installed onlay can last for years. It’s the right choice when you need:
• To fix a broken or fractured tooth with much of the tooth remaining healthy
• Make a cosmetically deformed or damaged tooth look like it should
• Repair decay when a filling would be too large and unstable
• And more.
You can be sure that Dr. Woods won’t recommend an onlay unless it’s the best choice. While there are cases where a less expensive filling might work okay, onlays are a smart choice when a filling just won’t work very well. We’ll fully explain your options and assist you in making the best choice.
Getting An Onlay Is Easy
The process of getting an onlay to restore a tooth is easy and is usually done over 2 appointments. During the first, impressions are made and a temporary restoration is placed so you can get on with your life until the second appointment. Then the impressions are sent to a lab where your onlay is made to our exact specifications under carefully maintained conditions that ensure it is made exactly right.
When you return for your second appointment, we place and attach the new onlay. If there are any small issues with its shape or fit, we can make adjustments while you wait so that the process will be complete when you leave. We’ll make sure your bite is good so that you won’t have any pain or complications. We’ll send you home with care instructions, but generally, you take care of an onlay the same way you would a natural tooth.
At Brighton Dental, we’re advocates for preserving as much natural tooth as possible. If you don’t need a full crown, an onlay is a sensible way to restore cosmetic appeal and full function to a broken or decayed tooth. And we have other choices available if an onlay turns out not to be the right choice for you after we carefully review your situation.
Our goal is to offer preventative, cosmetic and restorative dentistry that promotes good oral health and excellent overall health. For more about this procedure, see our Onlays page. We also look forward to scheduling an appointment to discuss your dental health and cosmetic dental issues.