Crown and Cap
To begin with, a cap and a crown are different names for the exact same thing. You’ll need a crown or cap when a tooth needs added strength. This can be caused by structural damage or because there is too much of the tooth missing for a filling. The restorative crown wraps entirely around the outside of your tooth. It’s also a routine procedure for an experienced prosthodontist, so it’s relatively easy.
What is a prosthodontist?
A prosthodontist is a dentist who specializes in dental prosthetics. This includes crowns, bridges, veneers, dentures, and implants. Prosthodontists have to complete two more years of education after dentistry school before practicing. If you decide that you need a crown, you should go to the right person the first time. Find a prosthodontist!
What is a cap?
A crown, or cap, goes on top of a damaged tooth to restore its use. Forming and fitting your new crown will usually take two visits to your prosthodontist and will be a quick and permanent fix for your damaged tooth.
If the fracture has caused damage all the way down to the root of the tooth, you may need an implant or bridge instead, but talk to your prosthodontist. They’ll have a good idea about what options you should consider. When it comes to your oral health, one size doesn’t fit all.
During the procedure, your prosthodontist will remove a small amount of enamel to create room for the cap. If material was only added during the procedure, your gums wouldn’t know if the crown was tartar or calcium and would recede from the crown, possibly creating a gum or periodontal disease.
Because of the removed enamel, the tooth may become sensitive. This is why you’ll have a temporary crown while the permanent crown is being fabricated. The position of the tooth is maintained by the temporary crown, which can be comfortably worn for as little as two weeks or as long as three months.
What are crowns made of?
There are several different options once you decide that you need a crown. Some of the most popular materials are gold, palladium, porcelain, or a combination of these.
Porcelain can be baked onto the metal to make the crown look much like a natural tooth—the same process used to make baths. Some dentists claim that there are ceramic options that contain no metal, but the material used to make them, zirconium, is actually a metal itself.
Currently, there is a big push by laboratories for milled crowns. The fit is good, they look white, and the research claims they’re strong. At Dr. Stone’s, we’ve found that the old-fashioned porcelain and metal crowns have a much higher success rate. There’s a reason they’ve been around so long. But if you’re still interested in milled crowns, we’d love to talk through it with you.
Alternatives to caps
A bridge is two or more capped teeth connected together with one or more false teeth between the capped teeth. Some people like to call their removable appliances bridges, but they are really partial dentures; dentists label both types of appliances as partial dentures, calling them fixed partial dentures or removable partial dentures.
If you talk to your dentist or prosthodontist and they find there’s too much damage to place a crown on top, you may want to consider an implant. Implants are the longest lasting dental procedure and can survive decades without any adjustments or additional procedures. They also have the health advantage of stimulating bone growth in the jaw.
If you haven’t considered implants in the past because of cost, you should think about what any kind of procedure will cost you long-term. If you decide to get something that doesn’t last, then you’ll need to buy it over and over again. Do your homework and calculate what something will cost you, not only today, but over two decades.
Is a crown or cap right for you?
Don’t just go to the nearest prosthodontist or the first one that has a good review. Take a minute to meet the person who’s going to be doing the work. At Dr. Stone’s practice, we offer complimentary consultations to new and prospective patients. We think it should be free to find the information you need to make a smart decision.
Dr. Stone has been practicing for over thirty years now, and he would love to help you decide what’s right for you. Schedule your appointment today.