Dental caps (also referred to as tooth crowns) are perfect for protecting badly damaged teeth. Caps go on top of a tooth when everyday procedures like a filling or bonding is no longer sufficient for repair. Dental caps are also popular for protecting a tooth after getting a root canal.
How dental caps work
Tooth caps fit perfectly over a tooth and cover it. The outside of your tooth cap will look like the crown of a natural tooth, and the remaining tooth will be safely protected under the crown. This extra layer of protective covering for your tooth will help to keep it healthier for many years to come. By using a dental cap, a tooth that might otherwise have needed extraction will be functional for another 10 to 20 years.
To complete treatment, your dentist will remove a bit of the surface of your natural tooth, so there is space in your mouth for the cap, but this is minimal compared to losing the tooth entirely. The crown attaches to your tooth with permanent dental cement, so it won’t be removable.
Types of dental caps
Labs use many different materials to make dental caps. What type of cap you choose will depend on factors like aesthetics, durability, cost and personal preference. Some of the different types of caps include:
- Porcelain – These crowns are best for aesthetics purposes, but aren’t as strong as other alternatives. Because of this, porcelain crowns are often used when you need to cap a front tooth.
- Dental alloys – Dental alloys are mixes of different metals such as chromium, copper, gold and cobalt. These alloys are FDA approved and safe to use in your mouth. The benefit of getting a crown made from a dental alloy is that they’re significantly stronger than porcelain crowns. However, they’re not a good option for capping a front tooth, as the metal cap will look completely different from your natural teeth. Because of this, these caps are best to use for crowning molars.
- Porcelain fused to metal – Porcelain fused to metal gives you a good trade-off. With these dental caps, you get the aesthetics of porcelain, but the strength of metal. For this reason, porcelain fused to metal caps can go on any tooth. However, while these caps offer the best all-around treatment, they can be slightly less beautiful than porcelain and less durable than dental alloys. But the difference is minimal and shouldn’t impact your final decision.
If you’re still unsure about what kind of dental cap is best for you, it’s best to talk to your dentist. They will help by showing you examples of what different kinds of caps look like and making recommendations based on your concerns.
The cost of dental caps
The cost of a dental cap can vary between $600-$3000 per tooth. The cheapest crowns are usually dental alloy crowns, whereas caps made from only porcelain are the most expensive. Porcelain fused to metal caps fall in the middle – that is, they’re less expensive than all-porcelain, but more expensive than dental alloys.
But there are some other factors that will influence the cost of your dental crown such as:
- The location of your dentist’s practice.
- Your dentist’s level of experience and education (specialists usually charge a bit more.)
- Laboratory costs for the dental technician.
- Transportation costs to move the crown from the dental laboratory to the dental practice. This is why it’s helpful if your dentist has an on-site lab.
Most dental insurance plans will cover part of the costs for your dental crown. However, it’s always best to find out how much coverage you can expect beforehand.
Talk to us
If you need a dental crown, feel free to call Dr. Stone’s practice. Once you’ve decided what kind of dental cap you need, our staff will contact your insurance provider to find out how much coverage you’ll get. If the coverage offered by your dental insurance isn’t enough, and you can’t afford to pay the full amount for your procedure, we also offer a CareCredit card. This allows you to pay off the procedure in smaller chunks over time.