You may have heard the term “tooth cap” before, but you’re not quite sure what it means. In this blog post, we will discuss what tooth caps are, why they are necessary, and the different materials that can be used to make them. We will also explain the process of having a tooth cap placed. After reading our blog, you will have answers to all of your questions regarding tooth caps!
What is a tooth cap?
A tooth cap, also known as a dental crown, is a prosthetic device that is placed over a natural tooth. The purpose of a tooth cap is to restore the function and appearance of the natural tooth. The terms “cap” and “crown” both mean the same thing, however “cap” is the older term, while “crown” is the newer term. As you may have noticed, both terms imply that this type of restoration fits over the top of the tooth to completely cover the tooth.
Dental crowns can be necessary for a variety of reasons. These include:
- To restore a tooth that has been broken
- To cover a tooth that has been severely worn down
- To support a dental bridge
- To cover a dental implant
- To improve the appearance of a misshapen or discolored tooth
- To restore a tooth after a root canal
What are dental crowns made from?
There are many different materials that can be used to make a tooth cap, including:
- Porcelain: this type of crown is made from a ceramic material that closely resembles the color of natural teeth. Porcelain crowns are very popular because they provide a natural appearance.
- Ceramic: this type of crown is also made from a ceramic material, however it is not as translucent as porcelain. Ceramic crowns are less expensive than porcelain crowns, however they are not as popular because they do not provide the same natural appearance.
- Gold: this type of crown is made from a gold alloy. Gold crowns are strong and durable, however they are very noticeable and not as popular as porcelain or ceramic crowns.
- PFM (porcelain-fused-to-metal): this type of crown is made from a metal alloy that is covered with porcelain. PFM crowns are strong and durable, and they provide a natural appearance. However, sometimes the metal can show through the gums.
- Composite Resin: this type of crown is made from a tooth-colored plastic material. Composite resin crowns are less expensive than porcelain and ceramic crowns, however they are not as strong or durable. As a result, they are commonly only used for temporary crowns.
- Stainless Steel: this type of crown is made from a metal alloy. Stainless steel crowns are commonly used for children’s primary teeth or for temporary crowns, because they are very noticeable and work best for temporary use.
The type of material used will be based on the location of the tooth, as well as the patient’s preference. For example, front teeth are usually restored with porcelain or ceramic crowns because they provide a natural appearance. Molar teeth are often restored with gold or PFM crowns because they are strong and durable.
Additionally, permanent and temporary crowns are also made from different materials. A permanent crown is made from a more durable material than a temporary crown. Permanent crowns are usually made from porcelain, ceramic, gold, or PFM. Temporary crowns are usually made from composite resin or stainless steel.
How is a dental crown placed?
The process of having a dental crown placed typically takes two visits to the dentist. This is because the tooth must first be prepared and then a mold must be made and sent to a dental laboratory. The dental laboratory will then need to fabricate the permanent crown and send it back to the dentist’s office. Once the dental crown is ready, the patient will return to the dentist to have it placed. In cases where the office has an in-office milling machine, then dental crowns can be placed in a single appointment since the crown is made as you wait.
During the first visit, the tooth will be numbed and prepared for the crown. This involves removing any decay or damaged tissue, as well as shaping the tooth to make room for the crown. In order for the crown to fit properly, the natural tooth structure will need to be reduced in size. An impression will then be made of the tooth, which will be used to create a model necessary to fabricate the dental crown. A temporary crown will be placed over the prepared tooth to protect it until the permanent crown is ready.
During the second visit, the temporary crown will be removed and the permanent crown will be checked for fit. The permanent crown will then be cemented into place. In most cases, dental crowns last around 10-15 years. To care for a dental crown, it is important to brush and floss regularly. In addition, it is important to visit the dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings. Finally, it is important to avoid bad habits like teeth grinding or using your teeth as tools to prevent damage to the crown.
In this blog post, we discussed the definition of a dental cap/crown and what the difference is between the two terms. Next, we listed reasons why a dental cap would be necessary. Then, we described the different dental materials used to make dental crowns, as well as the difference between a permanent and temporary crown. Finally, we described the process of having a dental crown placed, as well as how to care for a dental crown.
If you have any further questions about dental crowns or are in need of one, please do not hesitate to contact our office. Our team would be more than happy to help you!
Dr. Alina Huang has been practicing dentistry in Manhattan for the last eight years. She was born in New York City, and raised in California where she received her Bachelor’s degree at UCLA, and her D.D.S. at the University of the Pacific in San Francisco. She then made her return to NYC where she completed her General Practice Residency at Montefiore Medical Center and has been working in private practice ever since. She continues her learning by attending courses to stay current with the latest advancements in dentistry and refine her skills.