Onlay Restorations

Gundersen Health System offers both inlay and onlay restorations.

Onlays can be used to repair teeth that have large defective fillings or have been touched by decay or other disturbances. Onlays are perfect alternatives to the standard silver and composite fillings. They are also more conservative than crowns because less tooth structure is detached in preparing for onlays.

An onlay restoration is a custom made filling made of gold or porcelain materials. It differs from an inlay in its reach. Onlays cover one or more cusps on the tooth, while inlays do not. The tip, or peak, of the tooth is known as the cusp. We'll work with a professional dental laboratory that will make the onlay and then it will be permanently cemented into the tooth during a visit to our office.

Onlays are not always permanent and as with most dental restorations, may someday require replacement. However, they are extremely resilient and will last many years.

Onlay restorations are used when the peak of the tooth is:

  • Broken or fractured
  • In need of improved appearance
  • Decayed
  • Cracked, broken or fractured fillings

Two appointments are usually needed for an onlay procedure. During the first appointment, while the tooth is numb, the tooth is prepared by eliminating decay and shaping the tooth for the onlay. Impressions are then made of the tooth to send to the lab. They will custom make an onlay that blends in with the surrounding teeth is size, shape and sometimes color. A temporary onlay is made and placed on the tooth until your new onlay is done.

At your second appointment your new onlay will be placed. Adjustments are made to ensure the new onlay works well with your existing teeth.

Good oral hygiene practices, a proper diet and regular dental visits will help enhance the life of your new onlay.

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