An onlay is a restoration that replaces only the tooth that is missing due to fracture or decay. These restorations can be made of various material but the tooth colored onlays are most often used. Porcelain or composite/glass onlays are popular because they resemble your natural tooth and can be bonded directly to the tooth.
Onlays are an ideal alternative to crowns when there is enough tooth structure is left to support function. Once bonded into place onlays are strong and durable. Like all restorations the will need to be maintained and periodically replaced.
Reasons for onlay restorations:
- Broken or fractured tooth cusps.
- Cosmetic enhancement.
- Decayed teeth.
- Fractured fillings.
What does getting an onlay involve?
Getting an onlay requires two visits. At the first visit the tooth will be anesthetized and an impression will be taken. This impression will be used to fabricate a temporary onlay. A highly accurate impression of the tooth will be sent to a laboratory where the onlay will be made and returned in two weeks.
While the tooth is numb, any decay as well as old filling material will be removed. The remaining tooth will be reshaped to accommodate an onlay. Finally a temporary onlay will be either cemented or bonded into place.
At your second appointment the temporary onlay will be removed, the tooth will be cleaned, and your new onlay will be carefully fitted to ensure the contacts and bite are accurate.