Onlay Restorations

Onlay restorations are custom made fillings, composed of tooth colored porcelain, composite material, or gold.  Onlays are sometimes called “partial crowns”.  Onlays are made by a professional dental laboratory, and are then permanently cemented onto the tooth by your dentist.

Onlays are sometimes utilized to repair teeth that have been damaged by trauma or decay, or that have large defective fillings.  Onlays are a conservative alternative to crowns (caps), because they enable your dentist to repair a tooth while removing less of the original tooth structure.  Onlays and inlays are essentially identical, except that an onlay entails repair or replacement of one or more of the chewing cusps.

Like natural teeth and all forms of dental restorations, onlays are not always permanent. It may at some point be necessary to repair or replace them.  They are quite durable, though, and with proper care they should last for many years. A properly constructed and placed onlay will enhance your appearance with a beautiful, long lasting smile.

Reasons to choose onlay restorations:

  • Cosmetic enhancement.
  • Decayed teeth
  • Fractured or broken teeth.
  • Large fillings.
  • Fractured fillings.

What is the process of getting an onlay?

The usual onlay procedure requires two appointments.  During the first appointment, your dentist will make several very precise impressions (or molds) which will then be used to create both a temporary restoration and your custom onlay.

A suitable anesthetic will be administered to numb the tooth and gum, then the dentist will remove old filling materials and / or decay.  The resulting opening will then be thoroughly cleansed and prepared.  The surface will be properly shaped to accommodate the new onlay restoration.  The opening will then be protected with a temporary filling, which will remain in place while your permanent onlay is being fabricated by a dental laboratory.

Your second appointment will entail removal of the temporary filling, followed by the careful, precise installation of your new onlay.  When it has been cemented in place, slight adjustments may be necessary to ensure that your bite is comfortable and the onlay fits properly.

When your treatment is completed, you will be given instructions for proper care of your new onlay. As with natural teeth and all forms of dental appliances, good oral hygiene practices, and regular dental checkups are important in extending the life and durability of your new onlay restoration.