A porcelain onlay is similar to a porcelain inlay, except onlays can be used for larger restorations. Essentially, an onlay is a custom made filling that is made to blend in with your natural tooth. Onlays are also sometimes referred to as partial crowns.
Onlays are a more conservative way to repair teeth that have large fillings that need to be replaced, or to repair a tooth after decay or trauma. People often turn to onlays because they keep more of the natural tooth structure intact than a crown.
What is the procedure to get an onlay?
An onlay procedure requires two appointments. At the first, we will take impressions and images that will be used to create your custom onlay. These images are sent to the dental lab to craft your custom onlay. We will place a temporary onlay until your permanent one is ready.
The tooth will be numbed, and then we will work to remove any decay or old filling that may be present. Once it is cleaned and prepared, we’ll shape the surface of the tooth and place the temporary filling until your onlay is ready.
At your second appointment, we remove the temporary onlay and prepare your tooth for the permanent one. We will carefully and precisely cement the onlay in place, adjusting as needed to ensure an ideal fit and comfortable bite.
Why might I need an onlay?
Dental decay is fairly common, and it’s not unusual for people to experience cavities in their molars. Repairing and removing this decay is essential to restoring the health of your tooth. If not taken care of, the decay can spread, putting you at risk for the need of a root canal or extraction.
For large cavities, onlays are an excellent way to restore the health of the tooth in the most aesthetically pleasing way possible. Many people prefer onlays to fillings for a few reasons:
- Onlays can prolong the life and health of a tooth
- Onlays are made of durable porcelain that blends in with the natural tooth
- Onlays can strengthen the natural tooth by as much as 75%
- Onlays are long-lasting
How is an onlay different from a crown?
A crown is essentially a cap or covering for your tooth. It covers the entire surface of the tooth, going all the way to the gumline. An onlay is a much more conservative restoration as it only covers the part of the tooth that has been weakened from the decay or trauma.
What are the advantages to porcelain onlays?
Onlays are a much more conservative restoration than a crown as they preserve more of your natural tooth structure. Because they only cover the part of the tooth that is damaged, they won’t irritate your gum. They are also easier to clean, making them less susceptible to future decay. Onlays are made of porcelain and color fit to blend in with your natural smile.