Onlay restorations are custom-created fillings that are composed of either tooth-colored porcelain, gold, or a composite material. Many patients choose porcelain onlays due to their ability to mimic the appearance of a natural tooth. At Empress Walk Dental, our porcelain onlays are created using sophisticated CEREC (CAD/CAM) technology and are then able to be cemented permanently onto the tooth by one of our skilled dentists. If you’re thinking that onlays sounds the same as inlays, you would be correct. The main difference between the two restorations is that onlays incorporate one or more of the chewing cusps in addition to the structures covered by inlays.
Just like many other dental restorations, porcelain onlays are not necessarily a permanent solution. They may need to be replaced one day. However, you can extend the life of your porcelain onlays by maintaining good oral hygiene, including daily brushing and flossing, not smoking, and making sure to see your dentist for regular checkups. Patients who follow these guidelines should get many years of use out of their porcelain onlays, which will contribute to the patient having an attractive, long-lasting smile.
There are many reasons why a patient would be a candidate for onlay restoration. Some of them are:
At Empress Walk Dental, we are typically able to install an onlay in a patient’s mouth in only one appointment due to our powerful CEREC technology. In instances where the onlay must be created in an off-site dental laboratory, the patient must return at a later date for second appointment to finish the onlay procedure.
When the procedure begins, the dentist will numb the tooth before taking any decay and/or materials left over from previous filling(s) out of the patient’s mouth. Then, the area will be prepared for the procedure by being cleaned and then shaped to be able to accommodate the onlay restoration. When CEREC technology is not available, the dentist will take several exceptionally accurate impressions of the patient’s teeth, which are necessary to fabricate the custom onlay as well as a temporary restoration, then at this point insert a temporary filling as a placeholder until the inlay can be created by a dental laboratory.
In these cases, the followup appointment will consist of the dentist cementing the new porcelain inlay into its spot in the patient’s mouth. To make sure that the onlay fits comfortably into the mouth and that the patient can bite normally, the dentist may need to make a series of adjustments to the onlay.
Once the new onlay has been installed in the patient’s mouth, the dentist will give the patient careful instructions about how to care for the onlay during the healing process and throughout the life of the restoration. It is key that the patient not only listen to what the dentist has to say but also be prepared to follow the instructions as soon as they get home from the procedure.