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Onlay Restorations

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Onlay Restorations

An onlay is a custom filling created from composite material, tooth-colored porcelain or gold. Sometimes called a partial crown, an onlay is made in a professional dental lab and permanently glued to a tooth by the dentist.

Onlays are perfect for conservatively repairing teeth that have large defects caused by decay or trauma or have big defective fillings. Onlays are a sensible alternative to caps or crowns because less of the healthy tooth structure must be removed to fit the onlay. They are the same thing as inlays except that one or more chewing cusps is impacted by the restoration.

As with all dental restorations, onlays may have to be replaced eventually, but they should last for many years.

Onlay restorations are used for:
  • Fractured or broken teeth.
  • Cosmetic improvement.
  • Decayed teeth.
  • Broken fillings.
  • Very large fillings.

What is involved in getting an onlay?

An onlay usually requires two dental visits. The first is to take molds or impressions that are used to create the custom onlay in a dental lab and the temporary piece.

While a tooth is numbed, the dentist removes any decay and old filling material. The space is then cleaned and prepared by carefully shaping the surface so that it can accept an onlay restoration. A temporary filling is installed to protect the tooth until the new onlay is provided by the dental lab for the second appointment.

At the second visit, the new onlay is carefully cemented into place. In many cases, adjustments are needed to make sure the bite is comfortable and the fit is correct.

You will get care instructions after the treatment is done. Good care means intelligent oral hygiene, a healthy diet and regular dental visits to maintain the life of the restoration and overall health.

To find out if Onlay Restorations can work for you, call (619) 640-5100 for a free consultation with Dr. Paige Woods, DDS.