A Few Facts Worth Knowing About Capped Teeth
The chances are that sometime in your life you'll eventually find yourself having one or more capped teeth in your mouth. When that's the case, those capped teeth are probably going to be molars, since it is the molars which are usually most susceptible to damage through decay. In most instances, when we have one or more of our molars capped, we use the term crowns, not caps.
Capped Front Teeth - When we hear about someone having their teeth capped we tend to think of it as being a cosmetic procedure, which it sometimes is, and usually involves the front teeth. People who feel the need to project a perfect image, or have a perfect smile, will sometimes have their front teeth capped, since in doing so, the teeth will not only be pearly-white, but also perfectly shaped. TV news anchormen or anchorwomen who have missing or crooked front teeth are seldom, if ever, to be seen.
Cosmetic issues aside, capped teeth are often stronger, more attractive, and more protective of the gums and adjacent teeth than the teeth were before they were capped. When a dentist places a crown or cap on a tooth that has been damaged, or on a tooth that has had a root canal procedure performed on it, he can usually shape the tooth to whatever makes the most sense as far as the health of the mouth is concerned. Whereas original teeth may be slightly crooked, slightly worn down, or fail to come into contact with adjacent teeth, capped teeth tend to be straighter, have a full biting surface, and snuggle up nicely to their next door neighbors.
Materials Used For Caps And Crowns - Crowns and caps can be made from a variety of materials. They can be made from metal, from porcelain fused to metal, from ceramic, or from resin. Even stainless steel is used for caps and crowns. The use of metal caps is often confined to the molars, where they won't show, but a few souls will have a gold cap or crown placed on one or more of their front teeth. A gold front tooth can be somewhat appealing to look at. The same usually can't be said for a stainless steel front tooth.
Gold Crowns - A gold cap or crown can be very expensive, especially for a larger tooth like a molar, but ceramic or porcelain caps aren't exactly cheap either. The reason for the cost isn't solely due to the material used, even though one would expect to pay a good price for a gold crown. The cost is largely determined by the procedures involved in designing and manufacturing the fitting. The dentist first has to make a mold of the teeth. Then the shape of the tooth can be determined, after which a technician will design and construct the cap, which not only has to perfectly fit on the remainder of the tooth being capped, but also come into contact with its neighboring teeth, and have the correct biting surface as well. In most cases, the dentist usually has to make a few minor alterations to the cap as it is being permanently fitted in place.
Stainless Steel - Stainless steel is usually the material of choice for caps or crowns when the fixture is not meant to be permanent, although some desire to have stainless steel caps put in place permanently since they tend to be less expensive. If a child's primary tooth is damaged to the extent it requires a crown, stainless steel is most often the material of choice. It's less expensive, and once the primary tooth falls out, to be replaced by the adult tooth, the crown falls out with it.
Resin - If cost is an issue, a resin crown may be the choice. The cost is about the same as a stainless steel crown, and in fact is often less, and the crown is more natural looking. Resin crowns do not wear as well however, and will have to be replaced more often than the other types of crown. They are also more prone to being fractured.
Ceramic And Porcelain - Ceramic and porcelain crowns do not wear down appreciably, but can be a less than ideal choice since they tend to wear down the biting surfaces of the teeth they come into contact with. Ceramic crowns are the most natural looking, and are quite often the choice when front teeth need to be capped. A porcelain over metal cap is a better choice, since it is stronger than an all ceramic or all porcelain cap, and is a good choice when appearance is important. When you see a celebrity who flashes that perfect smile, it could well be that person has had his or her front teeth capped, and if so, either porcelain fused to metal, or a ceramic, is most likely what the caps are made of.
Caps or crowns can be chipped or cracked just as regular teeth can. Caps or crowns can also fall out, although this is very rare if they've been put in place correctly, and there is enough of the original tooth left to provide a surface for them to adhere to. Sometimes new crowns can lead to discomfort, but in most cases this is a very temporary situation, or is due to something that can be corrected by the dentist.