Crowns and Caps

Crowns & Caps

Think of a crown as a protective shell that fits over a tooth. A crown may be recommended when a filling is not enough to repair extensive decay, to replace large fillings, to repair a broken, brittle or cracked tooth (due to a root canal or other reasons), or if a tooth is especially sensitive. They sometimes cover dental implants or adjacent teeth when fitting a bridge.

Composition of Crowns

A restorative crown replaces the enamel of a tooth in order to protect, cover, seal and strengthen the tooth. Crowns can be made of many materials — from porcelain to metal to gold — but Dr. Evans, Dr. Nordin-Evans and Dr. Carney recommend using non-metal crowns in most every case. The specific material will be chosen based on strength, biocompatibility, and esthetics.

Do I Need a Crown?

Our doctors can ascertain the best method of treatment upon evaluation, but there are several cases in which crowns are almost universally recommended:

  • For deep decay. Fillings will not stay in a tooth that has had deep decay. The tooth structure is often weakened, and so removal of decay followed by a crown to stabilize the tooth is usually required.
  • To replace large, old fillings. Sometimes older fillings wear out or get decay around them. When a larger old filling is causing problems, the surrounding tooth is sometimes not strong enough to withstand another filling.
  • For Repair of a broken, brittle or cracked tooth.Once a tooth is cracked, a filling cannot seal it, and it is often painful to bite on that tooth. When a tooth breaks, it may not be possible to save it. The best preventative measure in both scenarios is to have the damaged tooth crowned.
  • To protect very sensitive teeth. Heat and cold sensitivity is such a pain — literally. If your teeth are “worn” or if receded gums have caused extreme sensitivity, a crown can help seal and protect your sensitive teeth.
  • After root canal therapy. If a Root canal is chosen as the best treatment for you, or for patients who have had root canals elsewhere, a crown is necessary to support and cover the “non-vital” tooth, which becomes increasingly brittle over time with function.

Cosmetic crowns, also called “caps”, are seldom used due to the advent of veneers. However, if a tooth is damaged enough to become unstable, a crown may be used instead of a veneer for added support of the tooth.