Tooth decay occurs when the acids produced by plaque and oral bacteria build up in your mouth. The acids erode the outer layer of your teeth, causing weak spots in your enamel. These weak spots eventually lead to the formation of small pits, or cavities. Without treatment, cavities only continue to grow larger, compromising the strength and integrity of the affected tooth. Typically, a cavity is treated with a filling. However, when the cavity is large, a fillings will only further compromise the tooth. At B.J. Myers DDS & Associates, we can restore these damaged teeth with onlays.
What is an Onlay?
An onlay often referred to as a partial crown, is a filling that is designed to restore the health of a tooth that has been affected by a significant amount of tooth decay. Onlays are an indirect filling, meaning that they are created outside of the tooth based on an impression, rather than using a material that is placed into the cavity and cured. Onlays are made of porcelain. However, this is not the porcelain that many people tend to associate with delicate plates. The porcelain used for onlays is much stronger and can withstand most normal daily wear and tear.
CEREC Same Day Technology for Your Restoration
We use CEREC technology to create your custom onlays in just one visit. After all of the decay has been removed from your cavity, we take a digital impression of your mouth. The image is displayed in 3D on our computer monitor and provides us with exactly one to one measurements. We then use specialized software to design an only for you that will fit perfectly within your tooth.
After the onlay design phase is complete, we send the information to our on-site milling machine. We chose a block of ceramic that perfectly matches the color of your natural teeth, and place it inside. The machine then mills the block into an onlay using the information from your impression and design. Once it is ready, we check the onlay for fit and proper bite. If everything looks and feels good, the onlay is polished and then bonded into place on the tooth. There is no need for a second visit. Once the numbness from the local anesthetic has worn off, which usually takes about 2 to 4 hours, the full chewing ability is restored.
Why Get an Onlay?
Typically, cavities are treated with fillings, so why would you need an onlay? Onlays are made from porcelain, which is significantly stronger than the composite resin material used for many cavities. It can hold up to stronger bite pressures than composite and is much less likely to break. When cavities are small, the amount of natural tooth structure that must be removed is minimal, so the integrity of the tooth is not compromised. However, in the event of larger amounts of decay, your tooth becomes weak. An onlay provides the strength needed in these cases, and can even help to prevent issues such as cracks or fractures from occurring.
Onlays provide a stronger, more effective treatment for decayed teeth. They help to better protect the teeth and prevent more serious damage from occurring. Call B.J. Myers DDS & Associates to learn more and schedule your consultation today at (512) 506-9889.