Often called a partial crown, an onlay will be made from a special material – composite, gold, or porcelain –to form a custom filling so that a tooth can be healed up and supported.

Larger problems such as decay, large fillings, and problems created by trauma are the problems that are perfectly solved by onlays. Onlays are often chosen by individuals and dentists because they do not require too much of the original tooth to be removed in order to fit. In many ways, they are exactly the same as inlays, though the only difference is that they do not interfere too much with the chewing cusps.

Dental onlay on a molar tooth

Dental onlay on a molar tooth

Although onlays have to be replaced eventually, they will continue to be strong and healthy for many years after being fitted. If you have any of the following, then you should consider whether an onlay is a good decision for you:

  • Broken and fractured teeth
  • Teeth that are decaying
  • Fillings that are broken
  • Fillings that are very large
  • Teeth that have a root canal
  • Teeth that require cosmetic improvement

What is involved in getting an onlay?

Only two visits to your dentist will be required in order for you to have an onlay fitted in your mouth, and during the first appointment you will have an impression taken of your teeth and gums, so that the dental lab will be able to ensure that the onlay is custom designed for you. A temporary onlay will be placed onto your tooth after any decay or old fillings removed.

It will take a few weeks for the individually crafted onlay to be ready, and then you will be called by your dentist to return. The custom made onlay will then be fitted onto your tooth after the temporary one has been removed, and your dentist will spend some time making sure that fit is perfect.

Your dentist will then give you some advice about how you can look after your new onlay, so that they will last even longer. This advice will include excellent oral hygiene, a diet that is healthy, and regular visits to your dentist.


Would you like to know if onlay restorations are right for you? Call (619) 640-5100