Porcelain Onlay restorations are custom crafted dental restorations that are crafted from tooth-colored porcelain, as well as sometimes gold or composite material. Porcelain is the most common material because it closely replicates the look of your natural teeth. These onlays are also often called a partial crown. They are crafted by a dental laboratory and then cemented permanently to the tooth by a qualified dentist.
Onlays are typically used to repair teeth that have large defects that can't be resolved with fillings alone or those that have been decayed or damaged by other trauma. They are the ideal alternative to crowns because they require less of the tooth's natural structure to be removed in preparation. Onlays are virtually the same as inlays except they typically cover one or more chewing cusps as part of the restoration.
Unfortunately, onlays aren't always a permanent solution and may need to be replaced at some point in the future. However, they are extremely durable and designed to last for years so you can enjoy a beautiful smile for longer.
Common Reasons for Onlays
Some of the most common reasons individuals seek onlay restorations include:
- Cracked or broken teeth
- Large fillings
- Broken fillings
The Onlay Process
In order to have your onlays installed, you will typically need two appointments. The first appointment requires impressions or molds of your teeth. These are used to craft the onlay, as well as a temporary restoration.
After the dentist numbs the tooth, he will remove any old filling materials and existing decay. He will then thoroughly clean and prepare the area, carefully shaping the area to accept the onlay restoration. A temporary acrylic onlay will be used until the custom onlay arrives from the laboratory.
During the second appointment, the custom onlay will be fitted and cemented into place. It may need to be adjusted to ensure it fits properly and your bite remains comfortable.
Upon completion of the procedure, your dentist will provide care instructions. Proper oral hygiene, such as brushing and flossing, as well as a good diet and regular trips to the dentist will ensure your new onlay lasts as long as possible.