Porcelain is an excellent material for restoring teeth. It mimics natural tooth structure more closely than any other material. It can be made with the same colors, translucency, and surface texture as natural teeth. And it is harder than enamel, and it resists staining and wear.
Porcelain can be used in dental crowns. See our porcelain crowns page for more information. But when the tooth is merely weakened and much healthy enamel remains, using an onlay helps preserve that enamel while strengthening your tooth.
Porcelain Inlay vs Onlay – What’s the Difference?
An inlay sits inside the tooth. Several pictures below illustrate porcelain inlays. Porcelain onlays will restore the inner part of the tooth but will also cover over weak parts of the tooth. They are also shown in the pictures below on some of the molars. Since the restoration does not go down to the gumline, it keeps natural enamel next to the gums and is therefore healthier for the gums. It is also a very long-lasting restoration.
This patient asked Dr. Thein to remove her old silver amalgam fillings.
The amalgam has been removed, and we can see that the teeth are seriously weakened, with crack lines showing in a number of places.
Dr. Thein placed porcelain inlays and onlays. Not only have they strengthened her teeth, but they look natural. She will no longer show black fillings when she laughs.