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What is the difference between a crown and a cap?

They are the same. The correct dental term is a “crown”.

What is a crown/cap?

  1. Crowns  as opposed to fillings, fit over the portion of a tooth that lies above the gum. These are typically used to restore a tooth to its original shape, to strengthen a tooth, or to improve the cosmetic appearance of a tooth.

  2. Crowns are cemented into place over the existing portion of a tooth and thus become the new outer surface of the tooth. These procedures are usually necessary for teeth that have been worn down, broken, or have a large portion that has been destroyed by tooth decay. After this procedure, the crown – instead of the surface of your natural tooth – bears the brunt of your daily chewing, talking, and general movement. In comparison, fillings are dental restorations that fill in or cover just a portion of a tooth. Since a crown encases the entire visible aspect of a tooth, it becomes, in effect, the tooth’s new outer surface.

  3. Crowns add strength because they cover and encase the tooth on which they are placed. This means that a crown can act as a splint that binds a tooth together. This is a very important feature of dental crowns and one that makes them a valuable  restoration.

Crowns can be made with different materials. These are usually four basic choices for crown materials:

  • Porcelain fused to metal crown (PFM) – This is the most common type of crown and is usually very strong

  • Porcelain fused to gold crown (Captek) – Precious metals are typically used in this type of crown since they are kinder to the gums and unlikely to cause an allergic reaction.

  • Full gold crown – Very compatible with the gums, these crowns can last for more than 30 years. They are unlikely to cause an allergic reaction and are very strong.

  • All-porcelain crown (Empress) – All-porcelain crowns are usually made with a substructure of zirconium. They are very natural-looking, usually applied to anterior teeth.

Why do you need a crown/cap after a root canal?


After a root canal is completed, the inside of the tooth is hollow. As a result, the outer part of the tooth is unsupported and prone to fracture. A crown is placed over the tooth in order to protect the tooth and keep it from breaking. Teeth that have had root canals need crowns, but teeth that crowned do not necessarily need root canals.

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