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Reviewed by: Dr. Kristen Dority

Dental caps, or crowns, cover the entire visible surface of the affected tooth and add strength, durability and stability.

Detailed Description

Caps are usually made of gold, porcelain, or a combination of porcelain and metal. Caps are used for both cosmetic aesthetics and to restore function.

Caps, or crowns, are required in cases where over a third of the original tooth structure has been lost or filled. Once that threshold is reached, there is generally no longer enough of the natural tooth available to support fillings. Grinding of teeth, an improper bite, age, fillings and tooth decay can all be contributing factors in the wearing down, cracking or breakage of teeth.

Capping requires grinding away enough of the tooth to make room for the cap to fit over and seal the tooth. Caps must form a tight seal at the gumline to keep bacteria from getting underneath and causing further deterioration of the tooth and/or root.

Caps are matched to the shade of the surrounding natural teeth and efforts are made to make caps as close in size to the original teeth as possible. Wide differences exist among dental laboratories that make caps, so those wanting the best as far as aesthetics and fit are advised to be smart consumers. Both consulting friends who have had caps and various dentists as far as fees and labs used can help patients who interested in making more informed decisions.

Last updated: 13-May-05

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