Dental Caps / Dental Crowns

Dental caps, more correctly known as dental crowns, are used by dentists to cover the entire tooth as opposed to fillings which are used to patch holes in teeth. Caps can be made of metal, porcelain or plastic, with porcelain being the most expensive, but most durable.

People with broken, cracked or damaged teeth are good candidates for having dental caps as well as those who would like to improve their smile. The procedure is a straightforward one with just a couple of visits to the dentist required. A high quality crown can last for 10 years or more.

Procedure information

First off, a local anesthesia is injected into the gum of the tooth where the dental cap is to be fitted and the tooth is then cleaned up and any decay is removed using a dental drill fitted with a burr. The dentist will generally grind the tooth down into a taper so that the crown will fit more snugly. Dental putty is pressed over the tooth to make an impression and then sent off to the laboratory so that a new crown can be fabricated. Your dentist will then quickly construct a temporary crown to cover and protect the tooth in question. That will be the end of your first visit as it will take about two weeks for the laboratory to have the permanent crown made.

On your second visit the temporary crown will be removed and the prepared tooth will be cleaned and roughened up using a burr. An etching acid is then applied to the tooth at the same time the hygienist applies the dental cement to your new dental cap. The cap will then be fitted over the prepared tooth and all rough edges smoothed and color matching checked.

Recovery time

The area where you had the work done may ache for a day or so and it may feel strange for a few days until you get used to the new cap. Full strength will be achieved after 24 hours after which you will be able to chew on that tooth.

Dental caps require the same level of care as natural teeth and you should brush twice daily for two minutes at a time. After crown work, some people experience a receding gum around the tooth and the dentist will need to fill this in to prevent food getting in the void.