Porcelain Onlays are the Best Option
Onlays and inlays are often referred to as partial crowns. They use the existing tooth as a base and fit the inlay or onlay onto the tooth. This is done to strengthen the tooth, restore its shape, and prevent further damage. An Onlay is a wonderful way of preserving healthy tooth structure as opposed to a full Crown. Usually, when a crown procedure is performed, significant amounts of heathy (live) tooth structure is removed. An Onlay minimizes this and allows the potential for a Crown procedure down the road if necessary.
The decayed or damaged area of the tooth is first removed during the procedure. A mold of the tooth is then taken and sent to our preferred dental lab. They create a restoration made from porcelain, gold, or a composite resin. The restoration takes about 2-3 weeks to make, so a temporary inlay or onlay will be placed on the tooth for that time. During your next visit the Onlay or Inlay will be placed into your mouth and set with cement. Your tooth will look natural and you or anyone else won't be able to tell the difference.
ONLAYS vs CROWNS
Our office does everything we can to minimize tooth structure loss. If the decay has proceeded past the point of needing just a filling, but it's not so bad that you have to get a crown, we will use an onlay. We may also use a Silver Nitrate treatment to help arrest the decay and prevent further work.