Nov 24, 2017

The Difference Between Porcelain Onlays and Dental Crowns

Dental Breakdown

Our teeth can go through a lot. They help break down tough and difficult food to better help with our digestive system. They also a susceptible to the food that we eat. When we eat something high in sugar, it is often our teeth that face the full brunt of our dietary choices. Over time, our teeth will begin to wear down and we will develop problems. It happens to most people because due to our modern diet. It is difficult to avoid food that is bad for our teeth. Therefore, we have to visit the dentist on a frequent basis to repair some of the damage that our lifestyle has caused.

There are a number of treatments that our dentists will prescribe, and a number of treatments that they will undertake. Two procedures that people are familiar with are fillings and crowns. Fillings aim to fix up the cavities in our teeth using a special mixture. Crowns cover up teeth that have worn down and protect the structure. One procedure that you might not be as familiar with is porcelain onlays.

Porcelain Onlays

A porcelain onlay is quite similar to a dental crown. It is designed to protect a tooth that has worn down so much that a filling would not be sufficient to fix it. If too much of the tooth is missing, then you run the risk of the tooth fracturing. This is a situation that you want to avoid. The role of porcelain onlays is to cover the chewing part of the tooth to ensure that it will not fracture and avoid you a lot of unnecessary pain.

A porcelain onlay differs from a dental crown in that has a different structure. While a crown covers the entire tooth, from the very top down to the gum line, a porcelain onlay is different. They only cover the part of the tooth that is missing, leaving the rest of the natural tooth exposed.

Read More: The Advantages of Temporary Teeth Veneers


An advantage of porcelain onlays is that they preserve the structure of the remaining tooth. While dental crowns cover the entirety of the tooth, the porcelain onlay will allow the healthy part of the tooth to function as normal. Many dentists and oral health experts agree that if there is a healthy part of the tooth, it is better off left alone. Porcelain onlays allow the good part of the tooth is used instead of covering it entirely.

Porcelain onlays can also be better for your gums. Due to the fact that a crown will cover your entire tooth, down as far as the gum line, it can be hard to clean between where the crown ends and the gum line starts. As a result, plaque and bacteria can build up along the gum line, potentially causing you gum disease. This won’t be a problem with porcelain onlays as they do not cover the tooth as far as the gum line.


There are some disadvantages, however. Porcelain onlays can be quite difficult to make as they must match the shape of the section of the tooth that is missing. Implanting a porcelain onlay requires a lot of experience in cosmetic dental practices. When getting the procedure, you will first visit our dentist. They will remove any of the plaque and the damaged part of the tooth. Following this, they will make an impression of the tooth’s structure. This will then be sent to a laboratory for moulding. It could take several weeks for the onlay to be created, so in the meantime, the dentist will most likely use a temporary filling to protect the tooth. When the onlay is ready, you will return to the dentist to have the onlay implanted.

Thankfully, due to improvements in technology and innovation, there are now new methods coming on stream. Advancements in 3D printing technology now mean that a dentist might have the ability to create a porcelain onlay straight away from their dental surgery. It may, however, take some time for every dental practice to carry such facilities.

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