Crowns, dental onlays preserve natural teeth for the lasting health and beauty of your smile

Advanced dental materials, technologies, and techniques allow the team at Pearl Dental Care in Hamden, Connecticut, to rebuild teeth in a way that restores and preserves their natural appearance and long-lasting, healthy function. Dental crowns designed and placed by our skilled father-son dentist team, Drs Gary and Scott Pearl, are durable ceramic, zirconia, and gold. Our ceramic crowns and onlays, including zirconia, can be fabricated in one short visit using Cerec technology. We can provide guidance on the best option to resolve decay or other trauma to the tooth. Additionally, our practice is proud to offer conservative alternatives to full-coverage crowns. 

Dr. scott on the computer

The beauty of conservative dentistry

Generally, the goal is to preserve as much of the natural tooth (healthy) as possible. By altering minimal natural tooth structure, the results from treatment are lifelike – in terms of how the treated tooth looks, feels in the mouth, and functions over the long haul. These dental restorations deemed as “more conservative” require minor alteration of the natural tooth. For instance, dental onlays represent a conservative alternative to dental crowns. Accordingly, onlays are sometimes referred to as “partial crowns” for this reason. 

Onlays are designed from ceramic materials such as lithium disilicate. They are shaped and placed to fit within “prepared” natural tooth structure. Not only do they fit the grooved chewing surfaces of the tooth, but onlays also cover at least one point or “cusp” of the tooth. They are appropriate for a tooth with damage that cannot be adequately resolved with a large filling. Big fillings are vulnerable to fracturing. Onlays may be used to replace worn-down or defective fillings. Our ceramic onlays can be fabricated in just one short visit using Cerec. 

The “full” crown

Onlays may not provide sufficient structure and stability to restore a badly decayed or damaged tooth. In these cases, a full-coverage crown may be appropriate. As with its conservative counterpart, the natural tooth is “prepared.” The diseased or damaged tissue is removed. The tooth is also shaped to “accept” the crown. So, when it fits over the tooth, the crown looks and feels natural and provides sustained strength and protection. The crown itself replaces the natural crown or white part of the tooth that is visible above the gum line, whereas the onlay only rebuilds the damaged surface of the tooth.

The onlay fits within the tooth, kind of like how jigsaw pieces are placed to complete a puzzle. Full crowns, however, fit over the top of the tooth (like how a crown or cap fits over a person’s head). Crowns are also associated with root canal therapy. They are the finishing touch after treatment designed to resolve infections at the center, the tooth’s pulp. Crowns are also used for tooth replacement as part of a dental bridge or implants placed in the jaw and designed to function like tooth roots. Just like a crown can be made for a natural tooth, a specialized crown can be fabricated for a dental implant or a series of implants. 

If you suspect there is a problem with your tooth, do not wait to contact us. Schedule an appointment today. Call (203) 285-8245. Our office is conveniently located in Hamden and proudly serves patients from New Haven County, including North Haven, Woodbridge, East Haven, Cheshire, and Wallingford.