When more than half of the tooth’s biting surface is damaged a dentist will often use an onlay.

What are onlays?

 Onlays can be made of porcelain, gold, or composite resin. These pieces are bonded to the damaged area of the tooth.  An onlay is a more substantial reconstruction, similar to the inlay but extending out over one or more of the cusps of the tooth.

Traditionally, gold has been the material of choice for inlays and onlays. In recent years, however, porcelain has become increasingly popular due to its strength and color, which can potentially match the natural color of your teeth.


How are onlays applied?

Onlays require two appointments to complete the procedure. During the first visit, the filling being replaced or the damaged or decaying area of the tooth is removed, and the tooth is prepared for the onlay. To ensure proper fit and bite, an impression of the tooth is made by the dentist, and sent to a lab for fabrication. The dentist will then apply a temporary restoration on the tooth and schedule the next appointment.

At the second appointment, the temporary restoration is removed. Mogelof Dental Group, LLC will then make sure that the onlay fits correctly, your bite is comfortable, and if it is satisfactory, the onlay will be bonded to the tooth with a strong resin and polished to a smooth finish.

Considerations for onlays

Traditional fillings can reduce the strength of a natural tooth by up to 50 percent. As an alternative, onlays, which are bonded directly onto the tooth using special high-strength resins, can actually increase the strength of a damaged tooth by up to 75 percent. As a result, they can last from 10 to 30 years. In some cases, where the damage to the tooth is not extensive enough to merit an entire crown , onlays can provide a very good alternative.

What about inlays?

Inlays are different than onlays and are not appropriate for teeth having large fillings, thin walls of enamel, or for patients who clench or grind their teeth. As good as the cement system used to cement them may be, the best protection for teeth with these issues, is an onlay.