An onlay restoration simply refers to a custom-made filling which is often made of gold, composite material, or tooth-colored porcelain. Sometimes an onlay is also referred to as a partial crown. A professional laboratory produces the onlay, and the dentist permanently cements it onto your tooth.
Onlays can be used to repair teeth that have been damaged by decay or trauma, or teeth with large defective fillings. Onlays are a great alternative to caps or crowns because there is a removal of fewer teeth when preparing onlays. Onlays and inlays are very much identical except that some of the chewing cusps are already affected and need to be included in the restoration.
Onlays, just like many dental restorations, are usually not permanent and may need to be replaced someday. They are very durable and capable of lasting many years, resulting in a beautiful and confident smile.
Reasons for onlay restorations:
- Fractured or broken teeth
- Decayed teeth
- Cosmetic enhancement
- Large fillings
- Fractured fillings
What does getting an onlay involve?
Usually, an onlay procedure is done over two appointments. During your first appointment, you will take a couple of impressions (mold). These impressions will be used in creating your temporary restoration and your custom onlay.
With the tooth numb, the dentist removes any old filling material or decay. The space is then cleaned and prepared, trimming the surface, so it fits an onlay restoration. While your onlay is being produced by a dental laboratory, the tooth is protected using a temporary filling.
The dentist, at your second appointment, carefully cements your new onlay into place. A couple of adjustments may be needed to ensure a comfortable bite as well as the best fit.
You will be given care instructions when you complete your treatment. Practicing proper hygiene, healthy eating, as well as periodic dental visits, will enhance the life of your new onlay.