Crowns and Onlays

When teeth are in a structurally weak state and/or are have poor cosmetics, then crowns or onlays would be indicated. 

Dentists at Beacon Smiles use the latest CEREC cad/cam scanning and milling technology to construct bespoke lifelike crowns or onlays right here in our office. Once in place they fully cover the top of the tooth to help keep the tooth together like a hard hat. Therefore giving the tooth many more years of life.

The difference between Crowns and Onlays:


Often our teeth can become weakened or damaged as a result of large cavities, fractures, or cracks. Teeth that have had root canal therapy are also often weak and need structural protection. These conditions may lead to further tooth damage, possibly to the point where it needs to be removed. Luckily, there is a solution to protect damaged or weakened teeth. A dental crown (also called a cap) is a natural-looking, durable covering that fits over top of the damaged or decayed tooth. By restoring a tooth with a crown, it will be protected from further damage.
Crowns are made of porcelain, metal, or mix of both that fully cover the top of the tooth. Typically made to go just under the gum line, so to enclose the visible portion of the tooth. This attribute is critical for front teeth. We can also use them in combination with veneers to make cosmetic modifications to your teeth for anyone seeking that perfect smile.


Onlays are made typically of porcelain, but can also be made of gold. They cover the top of the tooth like a crown, but do not necessarily go down to the gum line all around the tooth. Parts of the tooth that are still healthy are preserved. Therefore, onlays provide the structural support of a crown while being more conservative in removing less of the healthy tooth. Whenever possible, we at Beacon Smiles prefer to do an Onlay over a crown when the structure of the tooth can support it.

Large Fillings vs Porcelain Crowns & Onlays

Why do I need a Crown/Onlay? Would not a filling work?
Composite fillings are a good solution when there is a small cavity or area of the tooth that needs to be restored. When the cavity becomes too large, filling material unfortunately does not provide the adequate strength to support biting forces. This can cause the tooth to be much weaker and predispose it to breaking. Porcelain is a very biocompatible material for our teeth and helps to protect the teeth from further damage. It also provides a seal around the tooth to help it stay intact. Studies have shown that a tooth with a crown will last much longer than a tooth with a large filling.

Cerec Crowns and Onlays

For conventional crowns it takes two appointments to have the crown completed. This usually requires anesthesia (freezing) at each appointment and wearing a temporary crown for up to 2 weeks to allow the dental laboratory to make the crown. Fortunately, things have changed in our modern age. Here at Beacon Smiles, we utilize Cerec technology to do same-day crowns and onlays. Rather than having to book time for two separate appointments and having to wear a temporary crown, we can complete it all in one day! This technology allows us to record 3D images of your tooth and design the crown or onlay with a computer. Once the design is finished, a Cerec Mill machine makes the porcelain crown/onlay in a matter of minutes. We even glaze the porcelain in a special lab oven to give it a beautiful glossy look. It can then be bonded onto the tooth.
Benefits of a Cerec Crown/Onlay:
• Only need to be numb once
• Only need one trip to our office
• Can design the new crown to exactly match the previous tooth
• No temporary needed (don’t have to worry about being careful around the tooth for two weeks)
If you have structurally weak teeth then come talk to us about options to restore them to the strength they were meant to be. Call today on (587) 317-4094 and book a consultation.