Do you have a tooth with a crack, a large filling, and another structural issue? A dental cap — also called a crown — can shore up your tooth and give you a great smile again.

At Virginia H. Ellis, DDS Dental Corp., in Orinda, California, Dr. Ellis and her staff specialize in placing dental caps. In this blog, Dr. Ellis explains more about what dental caps are for and also discusses five main types.

All about dental caps

A dental cap, or crown, is a hard shell that covers an entire tooth. Caps are often placed on teeth that have structural problems. For example, if you get a root canal, you may need a crown to reinforce your tooth following your procedure.

Other reasons you may need a crown include the following:

  • To cover a tooth with a large filling
  • To keep a weak tooth from cracking
  • To restore a cracked tooth
  • To cover a poorly shaped or discolored tooth

If you get a dental implant — which is a replacement for a missing tooth — you will also get a crown as part of your implant. Crowns can also be used as anchors to secure dental bridges.

Crowns are placed over two appointments. At the first, Dr. Ellis prepares the tooth receiving the crown by shaping it and shaving off a small portion of enamel so the crown will fit snugly over it. When the crown comes back from the lab, she cements it in place, and you’re good to go.

5 types of dental caps

Dental caps can be made out of many different materials. Here are five types of dental caps:

1. Metal

The metals used in dental crowns include gold, palladium, nickel, and chromium. They rarely chip or break, require only a small amount of enamel to be removed, and last the longest in terms of wear. They’re also strong enough to withstand biting and chewing forces. The main drawback is the metallic color, so they’re usually used for out-of-sight molars.

2. Porcelain-fused-to-metal

This type of dental crown looks more natural, as the porcelain can be matched to the color of the teeth next to the crown. They’re also strong, making them a good choice for the front teeth.

However, sometimes the metal underneath the porcelain can show through as a dark line. Furthermore, there’s a chance the crown’s porcelain section could chip or break off, and the crown could wear down the teeth that come in contact with it.

3. All-resin

All-resin dental caps are usually less expensive than other crown types, but they’re more likely to wear down over time, and they’re more likely to break than porcelain-fused-to-metal.

4. All-ceramic or all-porcelain

These types of dental crowns offer the best color match to your other teeth, and they’re a good choice if you’re allergic to metals. However, they’re not as strong as porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns, and they can wear down the teeth that come in contact with them more than metal or resin crowns. All-ceramic caps are a good choice for front teeth.

5. Pressed ceramic

Pressed ceramic crowns have a hard inner core, which replaces the metal liner used in the all-ceramic crown-making process. These crowns are capped with porcelain to provide a good color match, and they’re longer-lasting than all-porcelain crowns.

If you have damaged teeth or are missing one or more of your natural teeth, dental caps may be a good tooth restoration option for you. To learn more, or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Ellis, call (925) 272-2698 or book an appointment online with Virginia H. Ellis, DDS Dental Corp. today.