Crowns and Onlays

Crowns and Onlays, also known as “caps”, are used to provide support to teeth that have been structurally compromised, not to be mistaken with veneers. When a tooth receives a filling to fix decay, tooth structure is removed. If the decay is large enough or the tooth has had root canal treatment a significant compromise to tooth strength can occur. Crowns and Onlays essentially cover the remaining tooth structure and hold it together to provide support and prevent fracturing under load. Fortunately the materials used for these restorations have advanced significantly. Gold and unsightly margins have been replaced with natural looking porcelain materials that can actually make your teeth look brighter and more natural. Onlays are a more conservative crown that can be used when less tooth structure is missing. Onlays are usually used on back teeth while crowns can be used on front and back teeth.

Crowns - Before-After


There are a number of reasons why an individual might need to have a tooth removed and replaced. Perhaps the tooth has been damaged by years of neglect or an injury has occurred. Regardless of the cause it is nice to know that there are options available to return a person’s mouth to the beauty and functionality that it once had.

When it comes to replacing a missing tooth, bridges have been the traditional choice. A dental bridge can replace single or multiple teeth and is made up of two caps (crowns), and false teeth called pontics. The two caps (crowns), sit on teeth called abutments and are found on either side of the missing tooth space. These crowns are then connected to a false tooth (pontic), which sits between the abutment teeth and take the place of the tooth or teeth that are no longer there. The patient is left with a replacement that looks and functions like real teeth. The bridge is permanently cemented and the patient doesn’t have to worry about taking the bridge in and out of the mouth.

The disadvantage of a bridge is that you can’t floss between the pontic teeth like you can with natural teeth. In addition, if the missing tooth is the furthest back in the mouth there won’t be support on either side of the space and therefore, sufficient support for the bridge. For these reasons, dental implants have become a more popular restorative choice when replacing a missing tooth.


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