As you can see from the photos, a dental onlay is a restoration that covers at least a cusp of a tooth. An onlay can be made out of different materials and in the past gold used to be more popular. As time went on, more and more people started to prefer a more cosmetic solution for dental restorations. So why onlays, you might ask? An onlay falls between a dental crown and a filling. When the damage on a tooth is too big for a filling to restore, and if there is still plenty of tooth structure, then an onlay is usually a better and more conservative choice. As you can see from the above photos, only the damaged area of the tooth is restored. If that particular tooth were to receive a crown, then the whole tooth would have to be cut down. But of course, we all know that sometimes it’s unavoidable to have the crowns done, which actually are more common than onlays. And also, a dental ceramic onlay is far more stronger than a dental filling of the same size.