Tooth caps – which are also referred to as dental crowns – are a great tooth restoration option for damaged or weakened teeth that cause dental health concerns. Although tooth caps typically are not recommended for large amounts of teeth and can not serve as solutions for missing teeth, they are a great way for individuals with one to several damaged teeth, to strengthen their teeth, which generally leads to a better smile and, more importantly, an improvement in function.
In order to fully understand what tooth caps are and whether or not they are right for you, we have provided detailed information about who tooth caps are for, how they are placed and the different types of tooth caps your dentist might offer below.
What are tooth caps?
In essence, tooth caps are prosthetic objects that are cemented onto the weakened tooth and provide additional strength to the tooth, which results in an increase in tooth function and ability and helps individuals have a much more aesthetically pleasing smile.
Who needs tooth caps?
There are numerous reasons why one may want and need a tooth cap. The following list details a few of the most common reasons a dentist places a tooth cap in the mouth of a patient:
- To strengthen and protect a weak or broken tooth
- To attach a bridge for multiple missing teeth
- To cover a large filling that does not have much tooth left
- To make a cosmetic repair to a tooth
For individuals who have a problem with just one or a couple teeth, then a tooth cap may be a way to repair and restore function and solve cosmetic concerns. However, larger issues that involve repairing multiple teeth may need dentures or bridges to solve the issue.
How tooth caps are placed
Tooth caps typically involve several trips to the dentist. On the first visit, the dentist is likely to examine the tooth in question and determine whether or not a tooth cap, or multiple tooth caps if it is more than one tooth, is the right course of action.
If the tooth in question does require a tooth cap, then the dentist prepares the tooth for treatment on the second visit. On the second visit, the permanent tooth cap is applied and cemented into place to prevent the cap from falling off.
Types of tooth caps
There are three main types of tooth caps that a dentist uses: ceramic, porcelain and alloy.
Ceramic tooth caps are generally only used for front teeth and are typically not as strong as the metal-based caps. However, ceramic tooth caps blend in well with natural teeth, and it is not noticeable that you have a cap.
A porcelain tooth cap is oftentimes fused to a metal material for added strength, and it provides a very strong bond to hold the cap into place. With a porcelain tooth cap, the tooth should blend in with the rest of the teeth without it being made obvious that a cap was applied.
Lastly, alloy caps arguably provide the strongest bond of any substance. With that said, they are generally not able to blend in perfectly with other teeth, which means they are best left for back teeth that endure more pressure when chewing.