When your teeth get damaged, there are generally only a few options that you have to repair (or to give the appearance of repairing) them: veneers, a fake tooth, or a dental crown (also referred to as a dental cap). If your dentist informs you that the best course of action to repair your tooth is a cap, you may feel a little trepidatious on what exactly the dentist has in store for you and your teeth. But you really don't need to worry so long as you're informed about what dental caps are and what the procedure will be like – so here's the information you need to know to go into your appointment prepared and ready.
It's Not a Filling
The first thing you might think is that a procedure that helps a damaged tooth sounds a whole lot like a filling – but caps are different from fillings in many ways. Generally speaking, fillings are done in one visit and are put into your tooth to stop any further decay that a cavity might have caused. A cap, to contrast, is created in a dental lab after your dentist takes an impression of your teeth (more on that below) and is cemented on to an existing tooth to improve its shape, appearance, or internal structure.
It's Not Temporary
While a lot of dental procedures, strictly speaking, are temporary in one way or another – you can get another cavity in a tooth that has a filling, for example, or a root canal may have to be redone due to a regrowth of the tooth root – caps are not meant to be temporary at all. Once the cap is in place, that is the new outside of your tooth, cemented down so that it stays in place no matter what. While this does mean that the dentist has to get the cap absolutely right, it also means that you can treat your new cap as a regular tooth, brushing, flossing, and eating as normal.
It's Not a Big Deal
No one really finds dental procedures "fun", to tell the truth – but getting a dental cap put on a tooth isn't really as big a deal as you may think. Your dentist will generally take an impression of your mouth's exact shape by filling a tooth guard with a foamy sort of light clay and fixing the guard on your teeth until the clay dries on one visit, then call you back in a week or so after they've sculpted the cap (usually out of porcelain, metal, or both) to perfectly fit your tooth. Your dentist will then simply cement the cap onto the tooth in question, allowing it time to dry, and then send you home. If you're still really worried, talk to your dentist; they'll be able to walk you through the process step-by-step until you're not worried anymore.
For more information about caps or implants, contact a local dentist.