What are silver caps on teeth for? This is a common question people have when they first see them. They might initially seem strange, but silver caps are a common and effective dental treatment. These caps are placed over the top of a tooth to protect it from further damage resulting from decay, infection, fracture, or other injuries.
Silver caps are also used after a root canal treatment to help keep the tooth strong and prevent it from breaking. Silver caps are also used for cosmetic purposes, in some cases, to cover up misshapen or discolored teeth. Read on as we explore what silver caps are, what they’re used for, and why people opt for them.
What Are Silver Caps on Teeth?
Your teeth are composed of multiple layers. The hard, outermost layer is called enamel. Underneath the enamel is a softer layer called dentin. In the center of the tooth is the pulp, which contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue.
Tooth damage is often due to the enamel being worn away, exposing the more vulnerable dentin. This can happen due to poor dental hygiene, excessive use of teeth for non-food purposes (like opening bottles), or eating acidic foods that break down enamel. Once the dentin is exposed, it’s more susceptible to decay, infection, and fracture.
To prevent further damage to the tooth, a dentist may recommend placing a silver cap over it. A silver cap is a hollow, cone-shaped piece of metal fitted over the damaged tooth. It’s made of amalgam, including silver, tin, copper, and mercury, and is held in place with a strong dental adhesive.
The silver cap acts as a barrier, protecting the tooth from further damage once it’s in place. It also strengthens the tooth and makes it more resistant to fracture. This restores your smile and helps to keep your teeth healthy and functional.
What Are Silver Caps For?
Losing a tooth to decay or injury can be devastating. It affects your appearance and can make it challenging to eat and speak properly. Here are the top three reasons people opt for silver caps:
1. To Protect a Damaged Tooth from Further Decay or Injury
Cavities or tooth decay happen when acids break down the tooth’s enamel. This exposes the dentin, which is softer and more vulnerable to decay. The decay can spread quickly once the dentin is exposed, which causes a large cavity.
The decay can eventually reach the pulp if left untreated, causing an infection. Lack of proper oral hygiene, snacking on sugary foods, and not visiting the dentist regularly can all contribute to cavities.
A tooth damaged by decay will be treated by your dentist, who will clean out the cavity and place a silver cap over the tooth to protect it from bacteria and acids. This helps to prevent further decay and keeps the tooth healthy. A silver cap is also placed over the tooth after a root canal dental procedure to protect it from fracture.
2. To Restore a Tooth’s Function and Appearance
A cracked or chipped tooth can affect your smile and appearance and make eating and speaking difficult. Placing a silver cap over the damaged tooth can help to restore its function and appearance. It also makes the tooth stronger and less likely to break. Silver caps can also be used for cosmetic purposes if you have misshapen or discolored teeth.
3. To Prevent an Infection
A severely decayed tooth can easily become infected, spreading to the gum tissue and bone, causing abscesses. An abscess is a pus-filled pocket that forms around the tooth and, if left untreated, can be dangerous and even life-threatening.
Your dentist may recommend placing a silver cap over the tooth to prevent an infection from spreading. The silver cap will help to keep the infection contained and allow it to heal.
Silver Caps on Baby Teeth
Baby teeth are critical to your child’s development. They help your child to chew, speak, and socialize properly. They also hold space for the permanent teeth and guide them into place. Baby teeth lost too early can lead to overcrowding and crookedness of the permanent teeth.
Baby teeth must be lost naturally at the appropriate time to ensure proper adult teeth development. Baby teeth, like adult teeth, are susceptible to decay, leading to premature loss. Placing silver caps on baby teeth can help prevent decay and keep them healthy until they’re ready to fall out naturally.
Silver caps are mostly placed on your child’s molars since they’re the back teeth that do most chewing and are most likely to decay. The silver caps strengthen the tooth and make it more resistant to decay.
Silver Caps on Teeth for Adults
Adults can also benefit from silver caps. Your teeth can become stained, cracked, or chipped over time, and cavities and tooth decay are also common in adults, affecting 90% of adults aged 20 and above. Tooth decay, left unchecked, can lead to serious infections, pain, and even tooth loss.
Silver caps are an effective way to treat damaged teeth, protect them from further decay, and restore their function and appearance. They’re also used for cosmetic purposes to improve the look of your smile.
Your dentist will assess the condition of your teeth during your visit and recommend the best treatment option. The procedure for placing silver caps is usually quick and painless.
Your dentist will first clean out the cavity or damage on the tooth, disinfect it, and then place the silver cap over the tooth. A special dental cement is used to hold the cap in place. The cement hardens quickly, and you’ll be able to go about your day as usual.
Silver caps are quite durable, but proper oral hygiene is still essential to keeping your teeth and gums healthy. Be sure to brush twice a day, floss daily, and visit your dentist regularly.
Get Your Silver Caps Placed Professionally and Safely
The Dental Team is a family dental practice. We have convenient locations in Milton, Brampton, and Mississauga and Vaughan/Maple, so you can get the dental care you need close to home.
Our team of dentists will take the time to listen to your concerns and answer all your questions. We’ll develop a treatment plan tailored to your unique needs and budget. Contact your local The Dental Team office to set up an appointment.