Patients who are considering dental caps to cover cracked, decayed or otherwise irregular teeth may wonder what the difference is between caps and crowns. This is a common question that dentists and cosmetic specialists often receive.

Is There a Difference?

The bottom line is, dental caps and dental crowns are the same things. The terms are used interchangeably to describe the porcelain or metal custom-made tooth-shaped covers that are glued in place over weakened or irregular teeth to protect the weakened tooth and/or to make the patient's smile look more straight and white.

Why the Two Names?

The two terms may be used by both patients or any kind of medical professional, but in general, the cosmetic specialist may use the term "caps" more than "crowns" and the dentist may use the term "crowns" more than "caps." This is because patients seeking caps from a cosmetic specialist are most likely looking solely to cover up—or "cap"—misshapen or irregular teeth for cosmetic reasons, whereas the dentist will discuss "crowning" existing weakened teeth in order to protect them from (further) breakage.

Dental caps and dental crowns describe the same process of shaving down existing teeth and covering them with stronger, more attractive false teeth that are permanently glued in place.