What are Dental Caps and Crowns?
Caps and crowns are two terms that are used to describe the same dental procedure. A crown is actually a cap which is shaped like a tooth and then placed over the tooth. A crown is used to restore the size, shape and strength of a tooth as well as improving its appearance.
Why would I need caps and crowns?
There are several reasons you might need a crown. Any one of these situations may require a crown:
- Additional protection of a tooth – such as a tooth that is cracked
- Restore a tooth that has been broken or is worn down severely
- To support a tooth that has a large filling
- To cover a tooth that is discolored or misshaped
- Positioning and holding a dental bridge
- Cosmetic modifications
- Covering dental implants
Sometimes crowns or caps are used for baby teeth such as:
- Saving a tooth that is severely decayed and cannot be filled
- Protecting children’s teeth that are at a high risk of decay
- Decrease the need for anesthesia for children of a young age
Permanent crowns may be made out of metal, resin, ceramic, stainless steel or porcelain fused to metal.
How is a tooth prepared for a crown?
You will usually need two separate visits to the dentist to get a crown. The first visit will involve examining the tooth and getting it ready for the crown. They may take some xrays to make sure the root and surrounding bones are strong enough to support the crown. If there is a lot of decay, or a high risk of infection, the dentist may first perform a root canal treatment.
Before the dentist starts making the crown, he will numb the tooth and gums around it. Then he will file the tooth down in order to make sure there is room for the crown. However, if the tooth is already worn down, he may use filling materials to fill it in or build it up in order to be able to support the crown. Once the tooth has been reshaped, the dentist will make an impression of the tooth so the crown can be manufactured. He will then place a temporary crown on the tooth. When you return for a second visit, the dentist will take off the temporary crown and deaden the area again in order to fit the crown permanently in place.
How Long will caps and crowns last?
You won’t need any special care for a crown but it also doesn’t prevent decay or gum disease from occurring. It is important to continue practicing good oral hygiene habits to protect all of your teeth. Typically, crowns will last between 5 and 15 years as long as you take care of your teeth properly. Some habits like teeth grinding, chewing ice, or biting your fingernails can cause your teeth to wear down including teeth which have been crowned. By avoiding these habits and observing good oral hygiene, crowns will last longer.