It’s summer time and that has us thinking about the “Boys of Summer” and baseball; which in turn has us thinking about ball caps, and THAT has us thinking about caps – as in capping your teeth! (You knew there would be a dental connection somehow.) So today, we’re talking tooth capping – whether for purely cosmetic reasons or as a result of a dental emergency, here’s what you should know about capping teeth.
We have talked about capping before, (from a “process” point of view) identifying whether a cap and a crown are two different things. As a reminder, they are not. The terms cap and crown are used interchangeably. A cap is most commonly used to cover a tooth to restore “shape, size or appearance,” when – for whatever the reason – there is too much of a patient’s tooth missing to be able to properly restore it.
A cap is often required after an injury to a tooth or as a result of a root canal. If the patient and Dentist agree, a cap (or crown) is permanently cemented into place to preserve and protect the tooth that required treatment. Also, often, a cap is placed because the patient wishes to preserve appearance and esthetics. Typically, caps last anywhere from 5 to 15 years but there are numerous instances of caps lasting significantly longer. They are usually made of either ceramic or porcelain and are very strong and durable. They can also be made of metals, such as gold, if you’re feeling like a little “bling” or composite materials, although composites don’t tend to last as long.
Occasionally, caps are not placed as a result of injury but at the request of the patient and for purely cosmetic reasons. This might be because teeth are irregularly shaped, badly stained and discoloured, or even to help with the appearance of the alignment of teeth. It’s not unusual for example, to compare old high school pictures of “the rich and famous” with their nice enough, if imperfect, teeth to their current Hollywood smiles showing beautiful, straight, “pearly whites.”
Caps can be treated like your own teeth and are brushed and flossed just as you would normally. Your family Dentist can usually fit you with a cap after a dental procedure but sometimes, you might be required to visit an Endodontist or Prosthodontist. The best thing to do if you have concerns about having a tooth capped is to book an appointment for a conversation with your Dentist to determine the best course of action for you.
There you have it. Everything you might ever have wanted to know about caps. One final note; if you want to protect those beautiful capped teeth while playing baseball – don’t just wear the cap on your head, wear a mouth guard too!As always, thanks for reading and remember: “don’t forget to be a BFF with your mouth and Brush that SMILE!”