Types of ceramic restorations

Dr. Eduard Ziganshin
general dentist, prosthodontist;
languages: English, Russian
When your doctor tells you that a tooth needs to be covered with ceramic, it doesn't necessarily have to be a full ceramic crown. It can also be a veneer, an onlay, or a three-quarter crown.

Let’s take a closer look at each of the designs.

A ceramic crown

A ceramic crown

Ceramic crown is a fixed protective “cap” on the entire surface of the tooth. For the full crown, the tooth has to be prepared circularly from all sides, including the occlusial surface. This type of construction is used in the case of severely decayed teeth, when we need to increase their strength or completely change the color of the tooth.

A veneer


A veneer is a ceramic cover only on the frontal (vestibular) surface of the tooth. In this case, only the “facade” of the tooth is covered with ceramic, while the back surface of the tooth remains untouched. Veneers are used mainly in aesthetically significant areas (smile zone), and most often the indications for them are also aesthetic. Veneers can be used to change the color, shape and size of a tooth.

A three-quarter crown

A three-quarter crown

A three-quarter crown is something in between a veneer and a full crown. This design is used when you want to keep intact one of the walls of the tooth (most often palatal or vestibular), which will serve as a bearing support for the entire restoration. They are also used in cases of disputed or severely decayed teeth, where the palatal wall is not covered with ceramic for unobstructed access to the root canal.

An onlay

An onlay

An onlay is a type of restoration in which only the occlusial surface of the tooth is covered with ceramic. It is mainly used on chewing teeth with a sufficient volume of supporting tissue. Onlays are also often to be fabricated after orthodontic treatment to raise the bite height in the lateral areas of the dentition.

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