Tooth Cap vs. Crown: What You Need to Know

When you have a damaged, decayed, or broken tooth, you may need a dental crown or dental cap. Both of these dental procedures are used to restore the health and function of teeth, but they are different in many ways. Both have their own set of advantages and drawbacks, so it can be difficult to choose which is best for you.

What is a Dental Crown?

A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cover that is placed over a tooth to restore its shape, size, strength, and look. A tooth crown is commonly used to treat a cracked or damaged tooth or severe tooth decay, and they are also used to cover up dental implants and protect them from damage. Porcelain is the most popular choice for patients due to its ability to color match your natural teeth and blend seamlessly, but there are various types of dental crowns such as:

  • Gold crowns
  • Silver crowns
  • Porcelain crowns
  • Porcelain fused to metal crowns
  • Ceramic crowns

What is a Tooth Cap?

A tooth cap, also known as an onlay or inlay, is similar to a crown; besides that, it only covers a portion of the tooth surface instead of its entire structure. Dentists may use a dental cap to treat tooth decay, fractures or cracks in molars and premolars, tooth trauma, or tooth sensitivity. Tooth caps are also typically made of porcelain and can be custom-made to match your tooth’s color.

Similarities Between Tooth Caps & Crowns

Both tooth caps and dental crowns are often referred to as tooth caps, and they are tooth-shaped restorations made of tooth-colored porcelain, ceramic, or composite resin. These tooth restorations can be custom-made to match the color and shade of your teeth, so they blend in easily with your smile once placed. Dentists may also use dental crowns and tooth caps to treat decaying teeth, tooth fractures or cracks, tooth trauma, and tooth sensitivity.

Differences Between Tooth Caps & Dental Crowns

While there are many similarities between tooth caps and crowns, there are some key differences that you should know about:

  • The primary difference between a tooth cap and a dental crown is the amount of tooth structure they cover. A tooth cap covers the biting surface and only one or two sides, while crowns completely encase teeth.
  • Since tooth caps only cover part of the tooth’s surface, it is less invasive to your tooth compared to a dental crown procedure.
  • Tooth caps are usually less expensive than dental crowns.
  • If a tooth cap does not fit properly, your dentist can easily remove and replace it. This may not always be the situation with a dental crown.

When to Consider a Tooth Cap or Dental Crown?

While tooth caps and tooth crowns are similar in many ways, they have unique benefits. If you are unsure which, tooth restoration is suitable for you, consult with your dentist, who will examine your tooth and suggest the best option to suit your needs.

Your dentist may also take a digital image of your tooth and present several treatment options that they feel would be best suited for the condition of your tooth.

Dental Crowns

A dental crown can be used for several things, such as to restore the tooth structure, strengthen a tooth that has been fractured or cracked, and anchor a dental bridge. They can also be used for dental implants and protect teeth from further damage. Since a dental crown completely encases the entire natural tooth structure, they provide extensive tooth protection and durability. Your dentist may use a temporary crown to protect your tooth while the permanent crown is being created.

Tooth Caps

If you are experiencing a decaying tooth, a fractured tooth or cracks in molars and premolars, tooth trauma, tooth sensitivity, and teeth that have undergone root canal therapy, a tooth cap could be the best choice.

Many people prefer tooth caps because they require less invasive treatment than dental crowns since the entire structure of your tooth is not being replaced. Also, tooth caps are typically less expensive than dental crowns.

Dental Crowns and Caps FAQs

Are gold crowns commonly used?

Gold tooth crowns are less common than porcelain tooth crowns because they do not look natural. The dentist may use them in posterior teeth where chewing and biting occur, but rarely on front teeth. They are typically more expensive than other materials, so they are not usually a patient’s first choice.

How long do dental caps and crowns last?

Both tooth caps and crowns can last many years if properly managed, and they may eventually need to be replaced if they become too worn down. Please consult with your dentist to see how long they are likely to last on a case-by-case basis.

Which material is most like your natural teeth?

Porcelain crowns and tooth caps are the most like your natural teeth. We can customize the tooth-colored material to look like your natural tooth structure and blend it in with the color of your surrounding teeth. Porcelain crowns and tooth caps look and feel similar to tooth enamel, making them a popular choice for patients who want to restore their tooth’s appearance.

How much do dental crowns cost?

Dental crowns can vary in price depending on the material used, and they typically cost more than tooth caps, but this varies depending on your dentist’s rates. It is essential to consult with your dentist to get an accurate estimate of how much a dental crown will cost in your specific case.

Contact Us For Your Dental Restoration Needs

When it comes to tooth restoration and cosmetic dentistry, Mcdonogh Dental offers a variety of options for you to choose from. If you consider getting a tooth cap or crown, contact our office and schedule an appointment with one of our dentists. We will work with you to find the best option for restoring the health and function of your teeth. Give us a call at (410)-363-2500 to schedule an appointment today.