What Is The Difference Between Dental Caps and Crowns

Dr. Bobby Chhoker

Terms like “dental caps” and “crowns” often get thrown around interchangeably, leaving many patients puzzled about their differences. Are they the same thing? Or do they serve distinct purposes? Understanding these distinctions is useful for making informed decisions about your dental health.

What are Dental Caps?

Dental caps, also known as “caps” or “tooth caps,” are essentially the same as crowns. They are tooth-shaped prosthetics that are placed over damaged, decayed, or aesthetically compromised teeth to restore their function, strength, and appearance. Caps are typically made from a variety of materials, including porcelain, ceramic, metal alloys, or a combination of these materials.

The term “cap” originated from the early days of dentistry when tooth-shaped coverings were crafted to cap or cover the entire tooth. This terminology has persisted over time, although the preferred and more commonly used term today is “crown.”

What are Dental Crowns?

Crowns are versatile dental restorations that serve a multitude of purposes, ranging from structural reinforcement to cosmetic enhancement. They are custom-made prosthetics designed to fit over a damaged or weakened tooth, encasing it entirely above the gum line.

The primary functions of dental crowns include:

1. Restoration of Tooth Structure: Crowns are used to restore teeth that have been severely decayed, fractured, or weakened due to large fillings. By covering the entire visible portion of the tooth, crowns provide protection and support, preventing further damage or deterioration.

2. Protection of Root Canal Treated Teeth: Following root canal therapy, a tooth becomes more brittle and prone to fracture. Placing a crown over the treated tooth reinforces its structure, reducing the risk of fracture and ensuring long-term durability.

3. Cosmetic Enhancement: Crowns can also serve cosmetic purposes by improving the appearance of misshapen, discoloured, or poorly aligned teeth. With advancements in dental materials and techniques, crowns can be customised to match the shape, size, and colour of adjacent teeth, resulting in a natural and aesthetically pleasing smile.

4. Support for Dental Bridges: Crowns play a pivotal role in supporting dental bridges, which are used to replace missing teeth. Crowns are placed on the teeth adjacent to the gap, serving as anchors for the bridge prosthetic, thereby restoring both function and appearance.


While dental caps and crowns are essentially synonymous, there are subtle differences in their usage and terminology. These differences include:

Historical Origins: As mentioned earlier, the term “cap” has its roots in the early days of dentistry, while “crown” is the preferred term used today. Despite this distinction, both terms refer to the same dental restoration.

Materials Used: Dental caps or crowns can be fabricated from various materials, including porcelain, ceramic, metal alloys (such as gold or stainless steel), or a combination of these materials. The choice of material depends on factors such as the location of the tooth, functional requirements, aesthetic considerations, and patient preference.

Clinical Applications: While the primary purpose of dental caps or crowns is to restore and protect damaged teeth, they may be used in different clinical scenarios based on the specific needs of the patient. For instance, crowns may be recommended for teeth that require extensive structural reinforcement, whereas caps may be preferred for aesthetic enhancements.

Technological Advancements: The distinction between caps and crowns has become less significant with advancements in dental technology and materials. Modern dental restorations are meticulously designed and fabricated using computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) technology, ensuring precise fit, durability, and aesthetic appeal.


Dental caps and crowns are interchangeable terms that refer to the same dental restoration—a tooth-shaped prosthetic designed to restore function, strength, and appearance to damaged or compromised teeth. While the terminology may vary based on historical context and clinical preferences, the underlying purpose and applications remain consistent.

Whether referred to as caps or crowns, these versatile dental restorations are crucial in preserving oral health, restoring smiles, and enhancing overall quality of life. If you’re considering dental restoration options, consult with your dentist to determine the most suitable treatment plan tailored to your specific needs and preferences. With the right approach, you can achieve a healthy, functional, and radiant smile that lasts a lifetime. Contact Dr Bobby Chhoker today to find the right treatment for you!