Written by: on April 29, 2015 @ 8:01 am

onlay3Most of you have probably heard of dental crowns. Maybe you have one, or know someone who has one. Crowns are a common dental treatment. However, have you ever heard of a dental onlay? Dental onlays are similar to crowns. In fact, they are often referred to as a partial or 3/4 crown. Whereas a dental crown covers the entire tooth, an onlay will cover the damaged area of the tooth but not the entire tooth. When deciding upon the appropriate dental treatment for your situation, it is important to understand various treatment modalities including the ins and outs of dental onlays.

What is a Dental Onlay?

Dental onlays can be fabricated from gold, resin composite, or porcelain. Porcelain is popular because it matches the color and shade of natural dentition. Onlays are a more conservative restorative treatment than crowns, because less tooth structure is removed for an onlay than is required for a crown. Often a dentist will simply place a crown when an onlay will suffice. That’s why it is important for you to be aware of the many dental treatments available and how and why they are used. For instance, when considering an onlay, ask yourself these questions:

  • How much tooth structure will need removal? It is always best to save as much tooth as possible in case future treatment is needed.
  • Which type of tooth is it and where in the mouth is it located? Onlays are a better treatment option for molars.
  • Do you have the habit of clenching and grinding your teeth? If you’re a bruxer, a metal onlay may be preferred over porcelain.

What Can an Onlay be Used for?

Dental onlays can be used to treat:

  • Large fillings
  • Broken, cracked, or fractured teeth
  • Fractured fillings

An onlay restoration requires two appointments. The first is to prepare the tooth and take impressions that are sent to a dental lab. The second is to cement the custom-fabricated onlay into place.


To learn more, or to schedule an appointment with one of the experts at the Comfort Dental Group, then contact us today by calling our office at (248) 474-6434. We welcome patients living in and around Farmington Hills, Livonia, Novi, Northville, Westland, and Dearborn Heights.

Catogories: Patient Education, Restorative Dentistry

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