An onlay is a custom-made filling made of composite material, gold, or tooth-colored porcelain.
It’s a great option to have when your tooth needs something more than a filling, but less than a crown.
Onlays can be used to strengthen and protect a tooth with a large filling or deep cavity, as well as to repair a chipped or cracked tooth.
You may also hear an onlay referred to as a partial crown. It’s made by a dental laboratory and cemented onto your tooth permanently by your dentist.
Onlays can be utilized to conservatively repair teeth that have large defective fillings or have been damaged by decay or trauma. Onlays are an ideal alternative to crowns (caps) because less tooth structure is removed in the preparation of onlays.
Although inlays and onlays can be identical, there is a difference between them. Inlays are placed within the cusp while onlays require an abutment tooth to be included in the restoration.
Although onlays are highly durable & can last many years, giving you a beautiful long lasting smile on your face, they are not permanent and sometimes may be required to get replaced, just like other dental treatments.
Reasons for onlay restorations:
- Broken or fractured teeth.
- Cosmetic enhancement.
- Decayed teeth.
- Fractured fillings.
- Large fillings.
What does getting an onlay involve?
An onlay procedure usually requires two appointments. On your first appointment, your dentist will need to take a few impressions that will be used to create your custom onlay and a temporary restoration.
First, your dentist will numb your tooth. This is when they will remove any decay and old filling materials. After that, the space will be cleaned and prepared. Careful attention will be given to shaping the surface of the tooth. A temporary filling will then be applied to protect the tooth while your onlay is made at a dental laboratory.
At your second appointment, your onlay will be fitted. While every case is unique, most are fitted in place using a mold that was made of your teeth at the first appointment. It should feel comfortable to wear and you may need to make a few adjustments for your comfort and to make sure it fits properly.
You will be provided with dental care instructions and treatment plans at the end of your appointment. Keeping good oral hygiene practices and a balanced diet, combined with regular dental visits will help maintain the health of your new restorations.