Porcelain onlays are a popular dental restoration that offers both durability and visual appeal. If you are considering porcelain onlays, the information below will help you decide if this is the best option for you.
What Is a Porcelain Onlay?
Onlays are conservative tooth restorations designed to protect teeth that have been severely damaged and/or have large fillings that have failed. An onlay will typically cover a large portion of the tooth, including one or more of the chewing cusps. This differs from an inlay, which doesn’t involve any of the cusps. A dentist may recommend an onlay as an alternative to caps because more of the tooth structure can be preserved.
Onlays can be made of different materials. Porcelain onlays are composed of porcelain that has been matched to the color of your natural tooth. They are made in a special dentistry lab and then sent to your dentist. These restorations are sometimes referred to as “partial crowns.”
What to Expect
In most cases, getting a porcelain onlay will require two office visits. During the first visit, your dentist will take an impression of your tooth that will be used to create your customized onlay in the lab.
Next, the dentist will remove old filling materials and/or decay to prepare the tooth to receive the onlay. Your dentist will numb the tooth to prevent pain during the procedure. He or she will shape your tooth carefully so that the onlay restoration will fit properly. A temporary filling will be used to protect your tooth until the second appointment when the onlay will be placed.
At the second appointment, your dentist will remove the temporary filling and place your new onlay. The porcelain onlay will be cemented into place, and the dentist will take steps to make sure your bite is comfortable. If your bite is off, the dentist will make adjustments as needed.
Caring for a Porcelain Onlay
After your porcelain onlay is in place, your dentist will give you care instructions. Follow these instructions carefully to prolong the life of your porcelain onlay. After the onlay is in place, you should brush and floss normally. You should also schedule regular dental check-ups to ensure the ongoing health of your teeth and gums. Keep in mind that porcelain onlays may deteriorate over time. Eventually, the onlay may need to be replaced.
When Are Onlays Appropriate?
Your dentist may recommend a porcelain onlay if any of the following are true:
- You have teeth that are broken, fractured or severely damaged.
- You have a large filling that is beginning to fail.
- You currently have a different restoration but want to improve the appearance of the tooth for cosmetic reasons.
Only a dentist can tell you whether you are a good candidate for a porcelain onlay. If you are interested in this restoration, make an appointment with your dentist to discuss your options.
Advantages of Porcelain Onlays
Porcelain onlays offer several advantages over other treatment options. Some of the specific advantages of porcelain onlays include:
- Same color as your teeth – Because porcelain onlays are the same color as your natural teeth, they are more aesthetically pleasing and blend in more effectively than alternatives.
- Strong and durable – Porcelain onlays are strong, allowing you to regain the use of your chewing surface. In fact, unlike a metal filling, porcelain actually adds strength to your tooth. They are also durable, lasting for many years with proper care.
- Tooth preservation– Crowns require the dentist to remove a significant portion of your tooth in order to attach the restoration. When a porcelain onlay is used in place of a crown, more of your natural tooth can be preserved.
Contact Old Milton Dental
Old Milton Dental offers porcelain onlays, as well as a variety of other dental treatments to provide relief from pain and/or to improve your smile. If you are interested in a porcelain onlay, we will be happy to perform an exam and help you determine if this type of restoration is right for you. Please contact us to schedule your check-up or treatment today. You can reach our office in Alpharetta at 678-624-0370.