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Cosmetic Dentistry- Porcelain Onlays




Porcelain Onlays

An onlay is a restoration technique that is commonly used in dentistry, it is a custom made filling that are made from either: gold, silver, tooth-colored porcelain or composite material. However, the most popular are Porcelain Onlays or Composite Onlays because they can resemble your natural tooth color. Onlays are easy to confuse because some dentists refer to them as partial crown. Porcelain Onlays are fabricated by a professional dental laboratory and then permanently cemented by your dentist.

Onlays can be used as alternatives to crowns. and also to repair teeth with minimal surgery and extractions. This technique is very popular because it practices minimally invasive dentistry, which is a practice to be conservative and also to save teeth from being extracted. Overall Onlays can be used to repair teeth that have several large defective, broken or fractured fillings or teeth that have suffered from decay or trauma. Onlays are basically identical to inlays with the exception that more than one chewing cusps have been affected. When more than one have been affected, this just means that they have to be included in the restoration procedure.

As with most dental restorations, porcelain onlays may have to be replaced at some point in time. Most patients have kept the same onlay in for decades and some have kept them in longer! Porcelain onlays are designed to match the size, shape and color of your teeth giving you that natural look. That being said, they are very durable and will provide you will many long lasting years, giving you that beautiful smile that you have always wanted.

Reasons For Porcelain Onlays:

- Broken, Chipped, or Fractured Teeth
- Large Defective Fillings
- Teeth suffering from decay
- Fractured Fillings
- Cosmetic Enhancement

What is involved in a Porcelain Onlay?

This procedure typically takes two appointments. Prior to the procedure taking place, we will take impressions of the top and bottom teeth (molds). The impressions will be used to construct your custom onlay. After the impressions are taken they will be sent off to a Dental Laboratory, the onlay will take about 1-2 weeks before it is ready. 

This procedure is typically painless, the area of your teeth will be numb (with novocain). While you are numb, the dentist will extract any old or decaying fillings or old materials left behind. Next, the area will be cleaning and prepared. The preparation will included, shaping the surface of the teeth so that it is ready to accept an onlay. Prior to your second appointment, you will be given a temporary onlay to protect the area that was cleaned and prepared.

When your second appointment takes place, your temporary onlay will be carefully removed and the area will be cleaned and prepared again. Following this, your new onlay will be fitted and any minor adjustments will be made to ensure the proper biting pattern is achieved as well as your comfort not being sacrificed.


After the procedure you will be given post procedural care instructions. As with any examination or procedure good oral hygiene practices, and regular dental examination visits will be encouraged to maintain the life of your onlay and your smile.

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