Onlay Restorations


An onlay restoration is a custom made filling made of composite material, gold, or tooth-colored porcelain.  An onlay is sometimes also referred to as a partial crown.  It is made by a professional dental laboratory and is permanently cemented onto the tooth by your dentist.

Onlays can be utilized to conservatively repair teeth that have large defective fillings or have been damaged by decay or trauma.  Onlays are an ideal alternative to crowns (caps) because less tooth structure is removed in the preparation of onlays.  Onlays are essentially identical to inlays with the exception that one or more of the chewing cusps have also been affected and need to be included in the restoration.

As with most dental restorations, onlays are not always permanent and may someday require replacement.  They are highly durable and will last many years, giving you a beautiful long lasting smile.

Reasons for onlay restorations:

  • Broken or fractured teeth.
  • Replacement of amalgum (silver) fillings.
  • Cosmetic enhancement.
  • Decayed teeth.
  • Fractured fillings.
  • Large fillings.

What does getting an onlay involve?


We offer single visit onlays using CAD/CAM technology and our in office CEREC dental lab. Using a computer connected BluRay intra-oral camera, pictures of your prepared tooth are taken and rendered in 3D software.  A restoration is then designed on the computer by Dr. Niebergall and staff, then sent to an in-office 3-axis milling machine where the inlay, onlay, crown,  or veneer is milled from a block of high strength porcelain or ceramic material.  Custom shading can then be achieved at the chair and then fired in a glazing oven.  The final restoration is then cemented or bonded to the tooth while still under anesthesia.  All done in one visit, no second appointment, no troublesome temporary crowns and no second shot!

While the tooth is numb, the dentist will remove any decay and/or old filling materials.  The space will then be thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared, shaping the surface to properly fit an inlay restoration.  Your new inlay will be carefully and precisely cemented into place.  A few adjustments may be necessary to ensure a proper fit and that your bite is comfortable

You will receive care instruction at the conclusion of your treatment.  Good oral hygiene practices, a proper diet, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new onlay.

Healthy Smiles

What does your smile say about you? Let us help you radiate confidence with a healthy smile.