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Dental Crowns and Caps: Procedure and Qualifying Criteria

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Dental Crowns and Caps: Procedure and Qualifying Criteria

Dr. Hosseini

Dental crowns and caps are prosthetics that restore a damaged tooth's shape, size, and function. These restorations are made of various materials, such as ceramic, metal, and porcelain, and are customized to fit each patient's specific needs. This article will discuss the procedure for getting a dental crown or cap and the qualifying criteria that patients should meet. 

"Dental crowns are a common restorative dental procedure, with over 2.3 million crowns placed each year. Additionally, dental caps and crowns have a success rate of over 90%, making them a reliable and effective solution for dental restoration". 

Are Dental Crowns and Caps the Same Thing? 

Dental crown and cap are terms often used together, but they have slight differences in meaning. A dental crown protects the entire visible portion of a tooth, while a dental cap is a dental restoration that covers only a part of the tooth, typically the top surface or biting surface. 

A dental cap is a dental crown, but not all dental crowns are caps. Dental crowns can also refer to restorations covering the entire tooth structure, including the roots, while caps are only for the visible portion of the tooth.

The choice between a dental crown or cap depends on the specific dental issue and the extent of the damage or decay. A dentist will evaluate each patient's needs and recommend the appropriate restoration based on their assessment. 

Benefits of Getting a Dental Crown or Cap: 

Dental crowns and caps offer numerous benefits to patients who require restorative treatment for damaged or decayed teeth. Here are some of the key benefits: 

  • Protection: Dental crowns and caps protect damaged teeth and can help prevent further decay or damage. They also support weak or cracked teeth, helping avoid fractures or complete tooth loss. 
  • Durability: Crowns and caps are made from strong, long-lasting materials such as ceramic, metal, or a combination of both, making them durable and resistant to wear and tear. 
  • Aesthetic improvement: Crowns and caps can improve the appearance of damaged or discolored teeth, restoring the natural look of the tooth and enhancing the patient's smile. 
  • Comfort: Crowns and caps are custom-made to fit the patient's tooth for comfortable wear. They can also improve the patient's ability to chew and speak correctly, improving their quality of life. 
  • Restoration of functionality: Crowns and caps restore the functionality of the damaged or decayed tooth, allowing patients to eat, speak, and chew efficiently. 
  • Long-term cost savings: While dental crowns and caps may require a higher initial investment compared to other restorative treatments, they can last for many years, potentially avoiding the need for more extensive and costly dental procedures in the future.

Qualifying Criteria for Dental Crown or Cap 

While dental crowns and caps are versatile restorations, they address various dental issues. However, only some are candidates for these prosthetics. Here are some of the qualifying criteria that patients should meet: 

  • Sufficient Tooth Structure: 

One of the primary criteria for getting a dental crown or cap is having enough tooth structure to support the restoration. If the tooth is too damaged or decayed, it may be unable to hold the crown or cap in place. Other options, such as a dental implant or bridge, are better for candidates with insufficient tooth structure. 

  • Good Oral Health: 

Patients with good oral health are more likely to be excellent candidates for dental crowns and caps. It means having healthy gums and teeth and being free from periodontal disease or other oral health issues. 

  • Aesthetic Goals: 

Patients with aesthetic goals for their smile may benefit from dental crowns and caps. These restorations can improve a tooth's shape, size, and color, creating a more natural and attractive smile. 

  • Bite Alignment: 

Dental crowns and caps may be ideal for patients with bite alignment issues, such as overbites or underbites. These restorations can help to correct the bite and improve overall dental function. 

  • Endodontic Treatment: 

Patients undergoing endodontic treatment, such as a root canal, may require a dental crown or cap to protect and strengthen the restored tooth. It's because the tooth may be weakened by the treatment, making it more vulnerable to fracture or other damage. 

Procedure for Getting a Crown or Cap

The procedure for getting a crown or cap involves several steps, including: 

  • Initial consultation: Here, the dentist will examine the tooth in question and determine whether a crown or cap is necessary. They will also take X-rays and discuss the best material for the restoration. 
  • Tooth preparation: After the initial consultation, the dental health professional will prepare the tooth by removing any decay or damage. The dentist may also slightly reshape the tooth to make room for restoration. 
  • Impression: The dentist will take an image of the prepared tooth using a dental putty or scanner. This impression will help create a customized crown or cap that fits perfectly over the prepared tooth. 
  • Temporary restoration: The patient typically receives a temporary crown or cap until the permanent crown arrives. This temporary restoration protects the prepared tooth and maintains its function until the permanent crown or cap is ready. 
  • Fitting and cementing: Once the permanent crown or cap is ready, the patient will return to the dentist's office to have it checked and cemented onto the prepared tooth. The dentist will ensure that the crown or cap fits perfectly and does not interfere with the patient's bite. 
  • Follow-up appointments: After crown placement, the dentist may schedule follow-up appointments to ensure the restoration functions correctly and make necessary adjustments.

How to Care for Dental Crowns or Caps? 

After receiving a dental crown or cap, taking good care of it is essential to ensure its long-lasting results. Some of the valuable tips in this regard are as under: 

  • Practice good oral hygiene: Learn the proper brushing and teeth flossing technique. Brush at least twice a day after the meals and floss at least once to remove plaque and bacteria that can lead to decay or gum disease. Also, using a soft-bristled brush helps avoid scratching the surface of the crown or cap. 
  • Avoid hard or sticky foods: Crowns and caps get damaged by hard or sticky foods, such as ice, hard candy, or caramel. Avoid biting down on complex objects or chewing on ice to prevent damage to your restoration. 
  • Wear a mouthguard: If you love sports or suffer from chronic teeth grinding at night, consult your dentist to protect your crown or cap. Wearing a mouthguard will protect your teeth and the crown or cap from damage. 
  • Schedule regular dental check-ups: Visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings to ensure that your crown or cap is in good condition and to detect any potential problems early. 
  • Avoid chewing on non-food items: Chewing on pens, pencils, or other non-food items can damage your crown or cap. Avoid this habit to prevent damage to your restoration. 
  • Address any issues promptly: If you experience pain or sensitivity, or notice any damage to your crown or cap, contact your dentist as soon as possible. 

How Long Do Dental Crowns and Caps Last? 

The longevity of dental crowns and caps depends on various factors, including the material used, the patient's oral hygiene habits, and the restoration's wear and tear level. On average, dental crowns and caps can last between 5 and 15 years, and sometimes, they can last even longer. However, proper care and maintenance can last even for a lifetime. 

Final Words

In conclusion, dental crowns and caps are an effective solution for many dental issues, from restoring damaged or decayed teeth to improving the appearance of discolored or misshapen teeth. They provide patients with a durable and long-lasting restoration that can improve the function and appearance of their smile. If you want a dental crown or cap, make an appointment with your doctor at your earliest convenience.

Contact your Pinole dentists, Dr. Azadeh Hosseini and Dr. Ghazal Hosseini, at Top Pinole Dental to learn more about Dental Crowns and Caps.


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This media/content or any other on this website does not prescribe, recommend, or prevent any treatment or procedure. Therefore, we highly recommend that you get the advice of a qualified dentist or other medical practitioners regarding your specific dental condition.