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Onlay Restorations

An onlay restoration is a custom made filling made of composite material, gold, or tooth-colored porcelain.  An onlay is sometimes also referred to as a partial crown.  It is made by a professional dental laboratory or milled onsite using a 3D printer and is securely bonded and sealed onto the tooth by your dentist.

Onlays can be utilized to conservatively repair teeth that have large defective fillings or have been damaged by decay or trauma.  Onlays are an ideal alternative to 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.  They are highly 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 done in one appointment at Scotia Square Dentistry using a 3D printer which carves the restoration out of a porcelain block in 10 or 15 minutes.  This eliminates a temporary filling and a second dental appointment in most cases.

If a laboratory is needed for your case, then highly accurate impressions (molds) that will be used to create your custom onlay and a temporary restoration will be provided.  A second dental appointment is neede to seat the final restoration made by the laboratory.

Both ways provide the same high quality product only one takes less time.

While the tooth is numb, the dentist will remove any decay and/or old filling materials.  The space will then be thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared, shaping the surface to properly fit an onlay restoration. If, once the old filling and decay is removed, there is hardly any tooth structure left to hold an onlay, you may have to have a crown instead-even a root canal -if the nerve inside the tooth is affected by your old filling and decay.  Dr. Heit will help you prepare for the procedure you have chosen to try to be proactive in saving your tooth.  Dr. Heit will answer all your questions and always try to provide you with the most conservative dentistry option possible.  The intraoral camera is a useful tool to help you understand your situation.

Your new onlay will be carefully and precisely bonded into place.  A few adjustments may be necessary to ensure a proper fit and that your bite is comfortable.

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 the life of your new onlay.

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