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Caps (Crowns) for your teeth

What is a Cap? ( Crown )

A Cap is a way of making your tooth smooth and healthy. It replaces some or all of the outer part of the tooth. Caps fit over and are bonded to your tooth.

It is a long-term answer for any of your teeth which are badly decayed, heavily filled, or unsightly.

Caps are usually made of gold or ceramic or ceramic bonded to an alloy or gold, and they are sometimes also called "crowns".

A cap may cover all or part of your tooth. Smaller caps are sometimes called Inlays, but the line that separates inlays with caps is a little blurred, so here we usually refer to all as caps.

Your "Preparation Appointment".

At this visit we remove the damaged and decayed parts of the tooth, and any old or broken fillings.

On back teeth we usually leave any sound parts of the filling because they make an excellent base. Removing them would greatly increase the chance of damaging the nerve of the tooth.

The tooth, and any remaining filling will be completely sealed inside the cap.

Most often we only work on the insensitive outer layer - or enamel layer - of your tooth. It is usually not painful even if you do not have a local anaesthetic injection. You are however very welcome to have anaesthetic - it is your choice.

Afterwards……..

Your tooth will be protected by a very thin plastic coating or a plastic temporary crown.

It will probably be sensitive to hot and cold things, and your gum may be a little sore. You may need to take a mild pain killer like Panadol.

Keep your tooth very clean - we do sympathise with you if the tooth is sensitive. The tooth will not decay if you don’t clean well for this short period, but it will make fitting the cap more difficult.

You can eat on teeth which have been prepared for caps - it does them no harm.

If you are having front teeth capped, and your appearance needs to be restored to normal, you will have
Plastic Temporary Caps. Be careful, because the plastic is not very strong, and it is only stuck lightly to your tooth so we don’t damage your tooth when we remove it.

Please try to avoid eating on these temporary caps, because they can come off.

Your "Fitting Appointment"

If you are having Gold Caps this visit is usually shorter than for Ceramic Caps, because preparing the surface of the tooth for bonding is much more complex than the preparation for gold.

Customising the Bite.

After the cap is fitted we Customise the Bite of the cap so it fits to your bite.

We do this by marking onto the cap’s surface with a piece of coloured carbon paper, and adjusting the shape of the cap with an abrasive stone.

The areas that have been adjusted are then polished with a series of rubber drills.

Customising does not always result in your new cap feeling exactly the same height as your other teeth.

Sometimes it is better to leave your cap a little high because your tooth has moved up (erupted) slightly towards the opposite teeth and it needs to be pushed back down.

Your tooth has been doing little work after its preparation, and having teeth move is Natures way of keeping worn teeth in function and occlusion.

Your tooth may become a little tender to bite on but usually it is pushed down in a few days, this doesn’t seem to be happening, ring us - your cap may need further adjusting.

Flossing your new cap.

Flossing may be difficult for a day or so, and the surface of the cap may feel a little bit rough because specks of adhesive stick to its surface.

If we have done our job well, when this initial period is finished, your new tooth should be smooth, and not snag the floss.

Do’s and Don’ts.

Keep your new cap as clean as possible.

Avoid sticky lollies, especially toffees. They can stick to caps very strongly, and can pull them off.

If this happens, don’t panic, caps can easily be re-bonded.

Please don’t chew on bones, or use your capped teeth as tools.

Guarantee.

Our guarantee is 5 years for Ceramic caps and 7 years for Gold caps - better than a new car!

If you loose or break your cap during this time, and you have been having regular examinations with us, we will replace it free of charge.

How long do caps last?

For Gold, about as long as a Mercedes Benz (I.e. it depends how you look after them). We are confident enough to give a long guarantee.

Are caps expensive?

Not compared to the cost of replacing the tooth if you loose it, and on a year per pound basis, less expensive than large fillings, which often need replacing more often.

Can I get decay under the cap?

Decay cannot start inside your cap, only at the edge.

It is important to keep the edges of your cap free of plaque, by daily brushing and flossing.

If you are at all unsure how to do this, we will be very happy to help you.

Do caps come off?

Very rarely. We do many caps, and if caps came off very often, we would spend all our time replacing them. It is useful if we can remove your gold caps, if we ever need to check for decay on the adjacent teeth, and for this reason we do not use a very heavy adhesive for your gold caps, and you can pull them off with sticky foods. Eating sticky stuff is the most common cause of loosened gold caps.

Ceramic caps on front teeth are bonded on very tightly, and you cannot pull them off - no matter how hard you try.

Does it mean I can’t get any more trouble with my tooth?

When your tooth is very worn, discoloured or damaged, caps are the best and longest lasting solution to your problem.

However, the nerve of a tooth that has had lots of previous damage is more likely to die than that in an undamaged tooth.

Preparing a very damaged tooth for a cap or large filling can be the "straw that breaks the camel’s back". However this happens rarely, especially if we have managed to avoid anaesthetic injections (they can reduce the blood supply to your tooth).

You can tell if the nerve is dying because the tooth gradually becomes more and more sensitive to pressure or hot or cold things.

If the nerve does die, the tooth can have Root Canal Treatment to remove the nerve, and the cap still remains.

Do you have to remove a lot of good tooth to prepare my tooth for the cap?

No, we hate removing your sound tooth structure as much as you dislike having it removed!

Generally all we have to do is remove the damaged or decayed outer parts of the tooth, and any damaged filling.

Does it hurt?

Since, as a rule, we are usually only removing decay, or parts of the outer , or enamel layer of your tooth, capping your tooth is usually not painful even if you do not have an injection.