Onlays and Overlays

Overlays and onlays are similar to crowns, except they are much more conservative and tend to spare the most important areas of your teeth. They are typically made of a ceramic material that mimics the natural mechanics and esthetics of your tooth.  

There are many factors that influence a dentist’s recommendation for the type of restoration that is needed, including size and location of decay, presence of fractures in the tooth, and how healthily or unhealthily the teeth come together during function.


This type of restoration only replaces the missing or damaged parts of your tooth. It is the most conservative option. You are a good candidate for an onlay if only a small part of your tooth is compromised.


This is similar to a crown, but it is much shorter. It does not cover the entire height of your tooth. This is important because the area of your teeth that do the best job at absorbing forces is the circumferential 2-3mm’s of tooth structure above the gums. An overlay ensures that this area is kept untouched, thus allowing your tooth to function in a healthier manner and while decreasing the risk of a leaky restoration or fracturing of your tooth. The same 2-3mm's of tooth structure above the gums is also the most sensitive area of your teeth because it is closest to the nerve inside the tooth. Leaving this area untouched also reduces the risk of post-operative sensitivity.


This type of restoration is the most aggressive in terms of tooth structure removal but may be necessary in some situations where there is too much damage or decay to your teeth that saving parts of your teeth is just not possible to obtain a predictable result.