Porcelain Onlays

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An onlay restoration is a custom filling made of composite material, gold, or tooth-colored porcelain. Porcelain onlays are popular because they look like your natural teeth. An onlay is sometimes referred to as a partial crown. A porcelain onlay is usually made by a professional dental laboratory and is permanently cemented onto the tooth by your dentist.

Dr. Atkins uses onlays to conservatively repair teeth that have large defective fillings or have been damaged by decay or trauma. Onlays are an ideal alternative to full crowns (caps) because less tooth structure is removed in the preparation of onlays. Onlays are essentially identical to inlays with the exception that one or more of the chewing cusps have also been affected and need to be included in the restoration.

As with most dental restorations, onlays are not always permanent and may someday require replacement. But they are very durable and will last many years, giving you a beautiful long-lasting smile.

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. Your first appointment will include taking several extremely accurate impressions (molds) that will be used to create your permanent custom onlay and the temporary restoration you will wear while you’re waiting for the lab to create the permanent version.

While the tooth area is numb, Dr. Atkins will remove any decay and/or old filling materials. The space where the onlay will reside will then be thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared, shaping the surface to fit the final onlay restoration. Dr. Atkins will place a temporary filling to protect the tooth while a dental laboratory makes your beautiful new permanent onlay. 

At your second appointment, Dr. Atkins will cement your new onlay into place. A few adjustments may be necessary to ensure a proper fit and assess the bite (where you teeth come together). 

You will receive care instruction at the conclusion of your treatment. Good oral hygiene practices, a proper diet, and regular dental visits will aid in prolonging the life of your new onlay.


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