Sometimes referred to as a partial crown, an onlay is a customized filling made from materials like gold, composite material or tooth-colored porcelain. Because they look like your natural teeth, porcelain onlays are a popular choice. Made by professional dental laboratories, the porcelain onlay is permanently inserted into your tooth with dental cement.
Onlays are a solution for teeth that have been affected by decay or trauma, or teeth with old or damaged fillings. They are more attractive than silver or composite fillings and are more conservative than crowns or caps because the tooth structure is not affected. Onlays and inlays are basically the same except with onlays, one or more of the chewing cusps must also be restored.
Onlays are a great idea for a long-lasting attractive smile. They are very sturdy and will last for years with good oral hygiene. However, like most restorations, they are not permanent and may eventually require replacement.
An only restoration requires two appointments. During the first appointment, your dentist will take several impressions (molds) that will aid in creating a customized onlay.
Next, your dentist will numb the area and remove any old filling materials or decay. Your dentist will prepare the space by thoroughly cleaning it and shaping the surface to accept the new onlay restoration. While you wait for your onlay to be prepared by the dental laboratory, a temporary filling will be used to protect the tooth.
During your second appointment, your new onlay will be precisely positioned and cemented into place. Your dentist may make a few adjustments to ensure a comfortable bite.
When your treatment is done, you will receive complete aftercare instructions. As with all oral health, good habits at home and regular dental visits will contribute to a long life for your onlay restoration.