dental capWhen it comes to how people talk about their teeth and oral health, there are formal and informal words and expressions, as well as new dental terminology that has emerged with modern dentistry. You may have heard the terms dental cap or cap and dental crown and wondered what the difference between them was. In this blog we will straighten that out and let you know what is involved in having a dental cap procedure. 

The Difference between a Dental Cap and a Crown

If you’ve wondered why people talk about caps and crowns like they are the same thing, it’s because they are. There is no difference between them. The words can be used interchangeably. Dental cap is a more dated term, a bit less technical. It’s the phrase older generations of people used to talk about dental crowns. Dental professionals today use the term crown instead. 

What Is a Crown? 

A dental crown is a prostheticcover that is put over a tooth to help restore the tooth’s normal shape, size, and function. These are typically applied when individuals have a cavity too large for filling, a cracked or weakened tooth, or want to conceal a discolored or poorly shaped tooth.” 

Crowns can be made of metal or ceramic. They can be used to cover teeth that aren’t chipped or damaged too, if the patient wants to have a tooth or teeth covered with a more attractive cap. 

In order to make the crown fit and attach to the tooth, the dentist must drill the tooth down. Getting a crown will typically take more than one visit to the dentist. During your first visit, the dentist will do an examination of your teeth and take measurements of the tooth to fit it for the crown. These measurements will allow the lab to make the correct size crown. 

If your tooth has sustained significant damage, the dentist may attach a temporary crown to cover the damaged tooth so you can chew and bite normally without pain or other discomfort while the lab is making the crown. A temporary crown is made from less durable material than a permanent crown, usually acrylic or a composite material. 

What Is a Crown Made of?

Permanent crowns can be made of different durable materials. People like ceramic crowns because they look attractive and natural and blend in with their other teeth.  Ceramic can be brittle, however, which means it’s more likely to crack or chip. Crowns can also be made of a gold alloy. Pure gold is too soft to hold up as a dental crown, but gold alloy will stand up to regular use. 

Another popular option is porcelain fused to metal. The inner part of the crown is made of metal (which is durable), and the outer part is made of ceramic (which is nicer looking). This type of crown has a longer lifespan than a plain ceramic one. Dental caps or crowns can be expensive, but the cost varies depending on which tooth it’s intended for, how damaged the tooth is, and the material the crown is made of. 

Remember: the longer you delay getting dental care for a damaged tooth, the more expensive the solution will be. So if you have a cracked or chipped tooth that you think needs to be fixed, call your dentist as soon as possible. The office will be happy to work with you and your insurance to get you the best dental cap for your tooth right away.