Dental Onlays for Single Tooth Restoration

Posted on: December 4, 2018

If you are looking at a single tooth restoration, you will see many options available — from veneers to crowns and dental onlays, which can make the decision confusing. Understanding your options and the care involved with each is important in making an informed decision about your smile.

Veneers, crowns and onlays take care of unsightly, cracked or broken teeth. Veneers attach to the front of the tooth after shaving away a small part of the enamel. Crowns fit on like a cap, often to hold together a broken tooth. Do you know how onlays work?

What is a dental onlay?

There are a handful of treatments for a tooth is damaged or decayed and needs a filling. One of the best options is an onlay. An onlay restores a damaged or decayed tooth to its natural beauty and strength.

Onlays and inlays are very similar. Inlays bond to the center of the tooth while onlays go a step further. Onlays are best for a tooth with extensive damage that interferes with eating.

Onlays and crowns

An onlay for single tooth restoration is less invasive than a crown. A dental crown removes a large portion of the tooth while an onlay fights to preserve more of the healthy structure overall. Onlays, like crowns, work to preserve the tooth while strengthening the bite and increasing the tooth’s longevity. Both prevent further cracking and breaking. The main benefits of choosing an onlay over a crown are cost, preserving the tooth structure and fewer visits to the dentists.


Aesthetically, onlays hold their color. They consist of various materials. Porcelain offers a natural looking smile. Composite resin and metal options are for increasing the tooth’s strength. Ceramic and resin bond to the tooth while metals cement into place.

Placed in two visits

The dentist can install your onlay in two visits. At the first visit, the dentist prepares the tooth and places a temporary onlay. This short-term solution helps to protect the tooth from infection. Your dentist will take an impression of your teeth to send to a lab. The lab creates an onlay that perfectly matches your smile. At the second visit, the dentist cements or bonds the new onlay to the tooth.


Be sure to let the dentist know before the first visit of any medical history. Antibiotics may be prescribed if there are preconditions such joint replacements, diabetes, heart murmurs and more. Your dentist will use a local anesthetic throughout the process.

Taking care of the temporary onlay is important. It can fall off or become damaged. Stay away from sticky or hard foods. Do not chew gum or ice. Do not floss around the temporary piece, but you can use mouthwash.

Are onlays for you?

Has your dentist mentioned single tooth restoration? If so, you should discuss onlays. If you do not have a dentist, then please call our office. We are happy to discuss your concerns and see what treatments will be best.

Are you considering dental onlays in the Aurora area? Get more information at

Related Posts

May 4, 2019

When Is a Dental Inlay the Best Option?

A dental inlay is a type of dental filling that dentists use to restore and repair teeth that have been fractured, cracked or damaged by decay. The dental inlay is fitted into the grooves of …

February 15, 2017

Our Aurora dentist office Discusses Restoration Types

When you visit our Aurora dentist office, you will speak with a dentist that will take the time to listen to your unique concerns and goals in order to customize a treatment plan to your …

July 14, 2018

What Does a Restorative Dentist Do? Top Restorative Dentistry Procedures

Finding a restorative dentist is one of the things you can do when you are looking to improve your oral health yet have concerns if any dental work you may need done can be seen …

September 22, 2017

Visit Our Restorative Dentistry Office If You Damage Your Dental Crown

As a restorative dentistry office, we treat teeth that have been damaged in an accident or due to infection. We can also repair dental restorations that have become loose, cracked, or chipped. If you have …