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Dental Crowns and Onlays

If you have a heavily damaged or decayed tooth, our dentists can help you choose the best solution. Crowns and onlays (sometimes called ‘caps’) are custom-fitted tooth prosthetics that function and look like natural, healthy teeth. They are usually fitted on teeth that are at risk of fracture (such as following a root canal) or too severely damaged or decayed to restore with a simple filling. These thin porcelain or resin shells are colour-matched to adjacent teeth and are usually bonded in place. For front teeth, veneers can sometimes be a less invasive alternative, but may only be a solution for those with slight tooth damage or discolouration.

Types of Dental Crowns

A dental crown is a tooth-shaped "cap" that is placed over a tooth to restore its shape and size, strength, and improve its appearance. When only very minimal tooth tissue remains, a post sometimes needs to be placed within the tooth to help retain the crown. They can be made from a variety of materials depending on the properties required. At Fourways we offer 4 different types of crown:

  • e.max - a very strong full porcelain material with superior aesthetics & very thin, thus less damage to underlying tooth

  • Porcelain-fused-to-metal - an average strength porcelain with decent aesthetics and a metal substructure to give added support

  • Zirconia - an extremely strong porcelain with superior resilience but poorer aesthetics

  • Gold - very strong in thin section thus minimally invasive for the underlying tooth

Dental Onlays

Dental onlays are an extremely conservative alternative to crowns for heavily damaged or decayed teeth. With modern porcelains & bonding materials, they are extremely aesthetic & just as long lasting as traditional crowns.

Onlay Benefits

Superior Fit: They offer a conservative preparation that preserves as much healthy tooth as possible.

Tooth Colour: made from highly aesthetic e.max porcelain, they blend in well with existing & adjacent tooth structures

Tooth Structure Safeguard: They preserve the maximum amount of healthy tooth structure while restoring decayed or damaged areas, helping to ensure functional longevity.

Easier Tooth Cleaning: Because the fit is tailored at all edges and the preparation minimal, your tooth can be easier to clean than it would be with full coverage restorative alternatives such as a dental crown.

Strength and Stability: They are extremely stable restorative solutions for the treatment of decay. The superior fit and durable material make them a stable choice that can actually strengthen a damaged tooth.

Weak Tooth Protector: An onlay can protect the weak areas of the tooth. The procedure does not require the complete reshaping of the tooth.


  1. The problematic tooth is trimmed and shaped for a proper crown/onlay fit

  2. An impression is taken of your bite for crown/onlay fabrication by our lab technicians

  3. The porcelain colour & shade is selected

  4. A temporary crown/onlay is fitted until the lab makes the permanent one

  5. Return after 2 weeks for final permanent crown/onlay fitting