The first step in determining who can benefit from porcelain onlays is to understand the purpose of onlays. A porcelain onlay is a dentist-fabricated replacement for one or more cusps of your tooth. The cusps of your teeth are the pointed or elevated part of each tooth. Your canine teeth have one cusp while premolars and molars can have several. This lesson in dental anatomy is important because it will help you understand your needs and your dentist’s treatment recommendations. Porcelain onlays are a more conservative option than full crowns and can work for a variety of patients. Two types of people who can benefit from porcelain onlays are those that have experienced some tooth deterioration as well as those with extensive dental work.
People who have experienced some tooth deterioration
The cusps of your teeth can be worn down over time through regular use. But, there are a number of reasons why you may experience a more rapid deterioration of your teeth. For example, grinding your teeth during the night can lead to wear. This can significantly impact the cusps of your teeth especially if it goes on for a long period of time without intervention. Grinding can start to flatten out the natural shape of the tooth and lead to issues with your bite. When this happens you may start to experience other problems such as tooth pain, jaw pain, and more intense grinding. Porcelain onlays can restore the natural shape of your teeth that have deteriorated because of grinding, normal wear and tear, or because of some other factor. It is important to address the root cause of the deterioration as a part of the process so you do not continue to have issues with your other teeth or the onlays.
People who have extensive dental work
In the past fifty years there have been many changes in the technologies and techniques of modern dentistry. New materials, procedures, and tools allow dentists to repair patient’s teeth less invasively than in the past. For example, dentists do not have to remove as much of the tooth when filling cavities as they did in the past. New filling materials as well as more precise tools help dentist minimize the level of tooth loss during procedures. But, if you have a large amount of old dental work you may have experienced significant loss of tooth size and shape. This can lead to some of the issues mentioned above such as grinding, tooth pain, and jaw pain. Getting porcelain onlays can build up and repair cusps of your teeth that were compromised because of previous dental work.
Porcelain onlays can make a big difference in how your teeth look and feel. They will blend in seamlessly with your teeth and feel completely natural. If your teeth have deteriorated over time or lost shape and size due to previous dental work you can benefit from porcelain onlays.
Julie C Berger, DDS, MA, FACP is a local Gettysburg dentist and a board certified prosthodontist specialist. She is a former full time instructor at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry.