When you hear people talking about oral health and their teeth, they often use expressions you may not be familiar with, along with the latest dental terminology relating to modern dentistry. That being the case, you may have heard the term dental crown or dental cap and might be wondering what each term means and how do they differ?
In this post we will discuss these dental terms and when you might need a dental crown.
The Difference Between A Crown And A Dental Cap
If you have ever wondered why some people refer to crowns and caps as a similar thing, it is because they actually are. There are no differences between them. These are terms that are used interchangeably. A “dental cap” is a term that is more dated, and slightly less technical. Dental caps are a phrase used by the older generation of people when they spoke about crowns. Today dental professionals prefer to use the term “crown” instead.
What Is A Crown?
Dental crowns are prosthetics that are used to cover teeth to restore the function, size, or normal shape of a tooth. Crowns are usually applied when there is a cavity that is present that is too big for a filling, or when the tooth is weakened or cracked. Crowns are also used to conceal poorly-shaped or discoloured teeth. Crowns or caps are typically made of ceramic or metal.
When Would You Need A Dental Crown?
Dental crowns are often needed for these situations:
- To provide protection to a compromised or weakened tooth (for example, from decay) from breaking or holding together pieces of a tooth that is cracked
- To restore teeth that have worn down or a tooth that is broken already
- To support or cover a tooth that already has a big filling when there is not a lot of the original tooth left
- To hold dental bridges in place
- To cover discoloured teeth or one or more misshapen teeth
- To cover dental implants or make cosmetic modifications
What Are Crowns Made Of?
A permanent dental crown is made from different types of durable materials. Some people prefer ceramic crowns since they look more natural and attractive and usually blend in with the surrounding teeth. However, ceramic is one of the more brittle materials, meaning they are more prone to chipping or cracking.
Dental crowns are also made from gold alloy. Pure gold would be too soft for holding up as an effective crown, yet gold alloy is a good choice for regular use.
Another option includes porcelain that is fused with metal. The interior part of these crowns is made from metal, while the exterior part of the crown is made from ceramic. These types of crowns tend to last longer than the standard ceramic ones. Dental crowns and caps are usually expensive, but in most cases, the cost will vary according to the type of tooth, the damage present, and what the crown or cap is made from.
What Are Temporary Crowns?
When a tooth is extremely damaged, a dentist might provide the patient with a “temporary crown” that covers the damaged areas until the permanent crown is ready.
These crowns are usually made from composite or acrylic materials which means they won’t last like the metal or ceramic crowns do.
Do Crowned Teeth Require Special Care?
Crowned teeth don’t really require special care, but it is still important to practice oral hygiene which includes flossing daily (especially around the area where the tooth meets the gum) and brushing twice a day. This should also be followed up with a good antibacterial mouthwash once a day.