What is a porcelain onlay? Your guide to conservative, tooth-preserving care

When you have a damaged tooth whose structure cannot be adequately restored with dental fillings, and when you do not need a full-coverage crown to fix it, then an onlay would be the best solution. At Innovative Dental Care in Omaha, Nebraska, we can conservatively restore the health, function, and lovely appearance of your teeth with porcelain onlays, also known as partial crowns. The onlay is designed to preserve maximum natural tooth structure. Less of the otherwise healthy, normal tissue has to be drilled away to prepare or accommodate the restoration introduced to build up the tooth’s structure. So, standard repairs are less invasive and associated with fewer side effects and fast recovery and healing.

Onlays process

If Dr. Summer Gutschow determines that you are a good candidate for a dental onlay, the natural tooth is prepared to “accept” the onlay. This preparation involves removing decayed or damaged tissue and shaping the tooth. If we replace a large or worn-down filling, we will also remove all filling materials before refining the treatment site. The onlay is made in-house uses CAD/CAM technology and an in-office milling machine. We use some of the most advanced diagnostic tools available to dental professionals today. These accurate and precise technologies inform our treatment recommendations. They also aid in the design of restorations that fit optimally to the underlying and surrounding tooth structure and, in turn, look like natural teeth, feel natural in the mouth, and withstand chewing and other behaviors over the long haul.

The onlay is created with a high degree of accuracy with CEREC milling. Dr. Gutschow will place the onlay over the chewing surfaces and at least one of the teeth’ cusps (or tips). She will make minor adjustments as needed before securely fixing or cementing the onlay into place. Polishing the restored tooth presents the finishing touch.

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Patients with old or worn fillings, or moderately fractured or otherwise damaged teeth, may be appropriate candidates for onlays. We also place inlays, which are similar to onlays. They, however, only restore the chewing surfaces of the teeth and not one or more of the cusps and tips of the teeth. That is a more conservative alternative to onlays, while full-coverage crowns are characterized as a less conventional option for patients with more significant damage or decay.

Call us at Innovative Dental Care in Omaha, NE, at (402) 933-8005 to schedule your evaluation and determine what restorative options are best for you and your situation.