It would be ideal for all decay to be caught early. That way, the dentist can be minimally invasive and preserve as much natural tooth structure as possible. However, that is not always the case, and sometimes there is a lot of damage done to the tooth that a filling just can not remedy. In these cases, the patient will need something that provides a lot more coverage—like a crown. When a tooth is not strong enough to hold a filling because of considerable decay, a crown is usually recommended.
Fitting a crown requires a lot more work done to the tooth than doing a filling. When getting a crown, the dentist will remove the decay and shape parts of the tooth, so the crown can be placed over the top of the tooth. Because the procedure for a crown requires more time and work than a filling, it also costs more and will require at least two appointments: one to get the mould of the shaped tooth and one to fit the crown.
That’s why a lot of people opt for having an onlay. They still get the sturdiness of a crown but without sacrificing healthy parts of the tooth to fit a crown. Having an onlay also allows the dentist to save more healthy areas of the original tooth without having to remove as much some to fit a crown.
Depending on where the tooth is located and how much damage it has suffered, the process may be a lot easier than fitting a crown. The removal of decay and an older amalgam filling takes place before the onlay is inserted. Traditionally, the onlay is made in a lab and fitted at the patient’s next appointment.
When compared to metal fillings, onlays have the following benefits:
- They last longer (as long as 20 years).
- Unlike metal fillings which may decrease the tooth’s strength by 50%, onlays increase the tooth’s strength.
- Onlays save natural tooth structure and decrease the occurrence of extractions.
- Aesthetically, onlays provide the most natural appearance.
We use high power microscope magnification and precise hand instruments to prepare incredibly accurate tooth shapes. The technical work is then carried out by master porcelain technicians using the finest materials and latest techniques to fabricate the bespoke porcelain onlay.
We also use the most advanced techniques to chemically bond the porcelain onlay to the underlying tooth structure to ensure a predictable and successful restoration.