Working with various patients day to day one topic that comes up repeatedly is: What is the difference between a crown and a cap in dentistry and do I really need one? So I’ve put together just the facts of what a dental crown is and why we at times recommend them.
- A dental crown may also be referred to as a “cap” but they are the same exact thing.
- Crowns are often used to replace missing tooth structure in an otherwise structurally unstable tooth. This can be due to the tooth having lost tooth structure from either being fractured, having had a large cavity or a very large filling, or from the tooth having had a root canal.
- Crowns can also be used in place of veneers to create a more esthetic smile or for a radical smile makeover in a person where veneers are not recommended.
- Most crowns are fabricated at a dental laboratory and are made using various materials such as: porcelain fused to metal, porcelain fused to zirconia or solid zirconia, porcelain or metal. Because the dental lab manufactures the crowns most often the crown procedure is not completed in a single day.
- A bridge is an extension of a crown, where multiple crowns are fused or linked together to replace a missing tooth or teeth.
- The crown procedure is normally as follows: the area is anesthetized initially, and then the tooth, or in the case of a bridge the teeth surrounding the space, will be adjusted for retention of the prosthesis. The tooth or teeth are shaped into a cylindrical shape and and then an impression or mold is taken of the prepared area. The mold is then sent to a dental lab and a bridge or a crown is fabricated. The lab will return the restoration in about 1 1/2 – 2 weeks. The restoration will then be tried in and cemented.
The dental crown is a common and important tool used in dentistry to help retain your natural teeth. You should maintain an open dialogue with your dentist about treatment and your personal treatment plan in order to attain the best dental care possible.