What Are Onlays?
Onlays are a type of indirect dental filling. Also known as partial crowns, they’re custom-made restorations used to repair and restore teeth that have more extensive damage or decay. They’re typically used for teeth that have moderate to large cavities or have had previous fillings that have failed.
Onlays are similar to inlays, but are larger and cover one or more cusps of the tooth and extend over the sides of the tooth. Inlays only cover the inside of the cusps of the tooth.
The benefits of onlays include:
- Strengthens the tooth
- Conserves tooth structure
- Improves function
- Precise fit
- Easy maintenance
- Enhances chewing power
The Onlay Procedure
The procedure for placing an onlay typically involves the following steps:
- Initial Exam: Your dentist will examine your tooth and take X-rays to determine if an onlay is the appropriate treatment for your condition. They’ll also discuss the different types of materials and options available for your onlay.
- Preparation: The tooth is prepared by removing any decay or old fillings, and shaping the tooth to make room for the onlay. Your dentist will then take an impression of the tooth to send to a dental lab.
- Fabrication: The onlay is fabricated at a dental lab using impressions. The lab will create the onlay using the material chosen by your dentist.
- Placement: During the second appointment, the onlay will be bonded or cemented into place. Your dentist will make sure that the onlay fits properly, and that the bite is correct.
- Polishing: The onlay will be polished to make sure that it’s smooth and comfortable for you to bite and chew.
- Final Exam: Your dentist will examine your tooth, and make sure that the onlay is properly placed and that you’re comfortable. They’ll also give you instructions on how to care for your tooth and onlay.
The entire process can take two or three appointments, depending on the complexity of the case and the availability of the dental lab.
Frequently Asked Questions
After receiving an onlay, you need to take care of your teeth to ensure that the onlay lasts as long as possible. Here are some tips:
- Brush and floss your teeth regularly, at least twice a day.
- Visit your dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings.
- If you experience any pain or sensitivity, contact your dentist immediately.
- Avoid biting on hard or sticky foods for at least 24 hours after the onlay is placed.
- Avoid consuming excessive amounts of sugary or acidic food and drinks.
The longevity of an onlay can vary depending on the location of the onlay, how well you take care of your teeth, and the quality of the materials used. On average, an onlay can last for 15 to 20 years.
Onlays are a good option for treating moderate to large cavities or extensive tooth decay as they provide improved strength and protection to a damaged tooth. They’re more conservative than a full dental crown and can preserve a more natural tooth structure. Your dentist will be able to assess the extent of the damage and recommend the best course of treatment for your individual needs.
Restore Your Oral Health
Onlays can be an excellent choice for restoring your oral health to pristine condition. At Southern Cal Smiles in Woodland Hills, Dr. Fredericks provides onlays as a high-quality dental restoration. To learn more about onlays, contact our Woodland Hills dentist today.