There are several different kinds of onlay restorations, such as composite fillings, gold fillings, or porcelain fillings that look like tooth enamel.  Onlays are sometimes referred to as partial crowns.  Your dentist will permanently cement the crown onto the tooth after it has been made by a professional dental laboratory.

Onlays can be used to conservatively repair teeth that have large defective fillings or that have been damaged by decay or trauma in the past as a result of decay or trauma.  An onlay is an ideal alternative to crowns (caps) because in the process of preparing an onlay, less tooth structure is removed from the tooth than in the preparation of crowns.  An onlay is essentially the same as an inlay with the exception that one or more of the chewing cusps has also been affected and needs to be included in the restoration.

Onlays are not always permanent and may require replacement at some point in the future.  Having a beautiful, long-lasting smile is a result of these highly durable and long-lasting dental appliances.

Onlay restorations are performed for the following reasons:

  • Teeth that have been broken or fractured.
  • Enhancement of cosmetic appearance.
  • Teeth that are decayed.
  • Fillings that have fractured.
  • Fillings that are large.

What does getting an onlay involve?

It is usually necessary to schedule two appointments for an onlay procedure.  At your first appointment, we will take several highly accurate impressions of your teeth (molds) that will be used to create your custom onlay as well as a temporary restoration until your permanent restoration is ready.

During this procedure, the dentist will numb the tooth so he or she can remove any decay and/or old filling materials that may be present.  After the space has been thoroughly cleaned and the surface has been carefully prepared, it will then be shaped to properly fit an onlay restoration in the space.  During the time that your onlay is being made by a dental laboratory, a temporary filling will be applied to protect the tooth.

Your new onlay will be carefully and precisely cemented at your second appointment.  In order to ensure a proper fit and a comfortable bite, a few adjustments may be necessary.

At the end of your treatment, you’ll get care instructions.  Your new onlay will last longer if you maintain good oral hygiene, maintain a healthy diet, and schedule regular dental visits.

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Our dentists pride themselves on putting your needs first and offering FREE PARKING — a rarity for downtown dentists. We care and we listen. Our dentists have years of experience and are here to serve your needs at every appointment. If you have a question about your smile or need a second opinion, we’re here to help.