What is the difference between a crown and a cap?
They are synonymous words. The correct dental term is a “crown”.
What is a crown/cap?
- Crowns and caps, as opposed to fillings, fit over the portion of a tooth that lies above the gum. These are typically used to restore a tooth to its original shape, to strengthen a tooth, or to improve the cosmetic appearance of a tooth.
- Dental crowns are cemented into place over the existing portion of a tooth and thus become the new outer surface of the tooth. These procedures are usually necessary for teeth that have been worn down, broken, or have a large portion that has been destroyed by tooth decay. After this procedure, the cap or crown – instead of the surface of your natural tooth – bears the brunt of your daily chewing, talking, and general movement. In comparison, fillings are dental restorations that fill in or cover just a portion of a tooth. Since a dental crown encases the entire visible aspect of a tooth, it becomes, in effect, the tooth’s new outer surface.
- Dental crowns add strength because they cover and encase the tooth on which they are placed. This means that a crown can act as a splint that binds a tooth together. This is a very important feature of dental crowns and one that makes them an especially valuable type of restoration.
How long does a crown/cap usually last?
Crowns and caps should last from five to 15 years, as long as they are maintained.
Are there different types of crowns?
Crowns can be made with different materials. These are usually four basic choices for crown materials:
- Porcelain fused to metal crown (PFM) – This is the most common type of crown and is usually very strong
- Porcelain fused to gold crown (Captek, Golden Gate) – Precious metals are typically used in this type of crown since they are kinder to the gums and unlikely to cause an allergic reaction.
- Full gold crown – Very compatible with the gums, these crowns can last for more than 30 years. They are unlikely to cause an allergic reaction and are very strong.
- All-porcelain crown (Empress, Lava, Procera) – All-porcelain crowns are usually made with a substructure of zirconium. They are very natural-looking, usually applied to anterior teeth, and are unlikely to cause an allergic reaction.
Why do you need a crown/cap after a root canal?
After a root canal is completed, the inside of the tooth is hollow. As a result, the outer part of the tooth is unsupported. A crown is placed over the tooth in order to protect the tooth from fracturing.
If I have a crown done, does that mean I automatically need to have a root canal done on that tooth?
Not at all. You only have to have a crown done if you have had a root canal first.
What is a post and core?
- After a root canal is completed, the inside of the tooth is hollow. That space is sealed and supported by a post and a core. This is done in order to support the crown/cap.
- A post can be made of stainless steel, titanium, and zirconium.
- A core is filler made of a plastic material that contains resin and porcelain particles.
What is the grey line that you see near the gum line of a crown?
- The grey line is the metal part of a crown that is made of porcelain fused to metal (PFM).
- This line can easily be eliminated if the crown is made entirely of porcelain or if the crown is made with a porcelain edge/margin.
- Dr. Roksar is well known for making those grey lines disappear.
Why is the gum around the crown so red and sometimes swollen?
- One easy way of to find out if you’re allergic to the metals used in a crown is to wear some type of custom jewelry and see if the tissue around it becomes red and/or swollen (red ring around the finger or red ring around an earlobe from an earring).
What’s involved in making a crown/cap?
On the first visit, which is about one hour long, Dr. Roksar will:
- Numb your tooth, if necessary (a tooth with a root canal will not need to be numbed)
- Place a post and core, if your tooth has had a root canal
- Prepare your tooth by removing and shaping one to two millimeters of your tooth
- Take an impression (mold) of your tooth for the laboratory
- Determine a custom color/shade and take a photo of your tooth
- Fabricate a custom temporary tooth for the time that your crown is being made at the laboratory (usually 2 weeks)
On the second visit, which is about half an hour long
- Numbs your tooth, if necessary
- Checks the fit, shape, and color of your new crown
- Verifies that you like the color, fit, shape, and color or your new crown
- Cements your crown