Onlay restorations can be made of a number of materials, including dental composite, gold, and tooth-colored porcelain. Porcelain onlays are generally the most popular form of this restoration because they more closely resemble the look and shade of your natural teeth.
Porcelain onlays may also be known as a partial crown, and like crowns porcelain onlays must be made in a professional dental laboratory. Onlay restorations are usually used to repair teeth that have been damaged by trauma or decay, and to replace large defective fillings. They are an excellent alternative to full crowns because they require far less of the tooth's structure to be removed prior to placement. Porcelain inlays and onlays are basically identical, except that onlays are used when one or more of the tooth's chewing edges or cusps have been damaged and will need to be restored as well.
What issues can porcelain onlays fix?
Porcelain onlays may be used to correct a number of dental issues, including:
- Fractured or broken teeth
- Large cavities
- Replacing old or damaged fillings
- Cosmetic enhancement
What is involved in placing a porcelain onlay?
Having a porcelain onlay placed will require two trips to your dentist's office. During your first appointment, your dentist will numb your tooth and remove any old filling materials and/or any decayed tooth matter. The resulting space will be thoroughly cleaned and then prepared and shaped to properly fit an onlay restoration. Your dentist will then carefully take an impression or mold of the tooth which will be sent to a professional dental laboratory where your porcelain onlay restoration will be made. In the meantime, your dentist will place a temporary filling or crown to prevent any further damage to your tooth.
During your second appointment, your dentist will remove the temporary restoration and carefully fit your porcelain onlay. The fit will be checked carefully to ensure that it is snug and comfortable, and does not interfere with your bite. Any needed adjustments will be made, and then your dentist will carefully cement the porcelain onlay restoration into place. You will need to carefully follow any special care instructions your dentist gives you and continue to follow good oral hygiene practices to ensure the life of your porcelain onlay restoration.