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What Is An Onlay?

Published on July 31, 2014 by

porcelain-onlay-before-and-afterWe recommend an onlay if we need to restore a tooth that is broken down so much that a filling is insufficient, too much of the tooth is missing, or if the tooth is cracked and could fracture, or in any case where we could not use conventional filling material due to a variety of reasons.

An onlay covers at least one cusp of the tooth and most or all of the chewing surface of the tooth. It help to strengthen it so that it won’t fracture.  One advantage of onlays is that they preserve more of the natural tooth structure. If the tooth’s structure is healthy, it is usually best to leave as much of it in your mouth as possible.

Onlays look very natural.  In fact, it is one of our favorite tooth restoration methods.  An onlay can be porcelain or gold.

Although most people like to have them made in porcelain for cosmetic reasons (as we can match the color of your existing teeth), from a whole-body-health perspective gold is just as acceptable.

The difference between an onlay and a crown…
A crown covers the entire chewing surface of the tooth and wraps around the entire tooth all the way to the gum line. The porcelain onlay is more conservative as it covers only the weak parts of the tooth, and saves more of your natural tooth.

What you need to know…
Onlays require a great deal of expertise to place correctly. They require extensive training in cosmetic dentistry and in occlusion. Very special skills are required to prepare the tooth, as well as actually seating the onlay.

Dr. Tom been making onlays for years, and always favors them as they allow to save more of your tooth. His extensive training and studies under the best teachers combined with years of experience have helped him master the skills required to install onlays, and he has come to love this very conservative and natural approach to tooth restoration.

Onlays… What To Expect
During your first visit we will remove tooth decay if any is present. Sometimes what we call a “build up” is necessary if a lot of tooth structure is missing.  The doctor will prepare your tooth for an impression we take for a laboratory to make your onlay, and finally we will make a temporary. You will be able to function properly with the temporary during the couple of weeks the lab usually needs to make your restoration.

The second visit will requires less of your time. While this phase is highly technical and requires a lot of skills to prepare both you tooth and the onlay, you will be in and out of the office in a short period of time.

Filed under: Cosmetic Dentistry, Dental Crowns, Holistic Dentistry, Onlays
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