A jacket is a crown for a front tooth that is usually made of porcelain. It is also called a cap. A crown or jacket can be required for a number of reasons. Most commonly, a tooth that needs a large filling or has been subjected to a fracture will need a crown. The crown is required to maintain the structural and functional integrity of the tooth. Teeth that have undergone root canal therapy (RCT) also require a crown. Lastly, teeth can be crowned for aesthetic reasons.
There are three basic types of crowns. The first type is made entirely of gold and is usually placed on back teeth. A second type has a layer of tooth-colored porcelain covering the metal, improving the look of the tooth while maintaining strength. These porcelain crowns can be placed on either the front or back teeth. A broken and badly decayed tooth is usually restored with a crown in which porcelain is fused to metal. The final kind of crown is made entirely of porcelain and is the best-looking type, which is why it is usually reserved for use on front teeth. It is this type of crown that is referred to as a jacket.
To prepare and cement a crown normally takes two appointments. During the first visit, the tooth is shaped to allow room for the thickness of the crown. The shade of the neighboring teeth will be recorded to make sure that the porcelain color of the crown looks natural and matches the surrounding teeth. A temporary crown, usually made of plastic, is fabricated while the permanent one is being made. This temporary crown may be more noticeable, but it will soon be replaced.
After the impression is taken of the tooth, the crown is custom-made by a lab technician according to the dentist’s instructions. This is a very precise process to ensure an exact fit. At the second appointment, the temporary crown is removed and the tooth is thoroughly cleaned. A few minor adjustments may be required to fit the crown exactly to a person's bite. The new crown is then cemented onto the tooth.
Care and Maintenance
All teeth are subject to decay or gum disease, even if they are crowned. Therefore, it is important to practice good oral hygiene by properly brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing at least once a day and visiting a dentist at least twice a year for dental cleanings.
A crown is the most reliable way of restoring strength to a weak tooth. Advantages of dental jackets are that they look, feel and function just like any of your natural teeth. Lastly, porcelain crowns are the best way to improve the look of your teeth, which is why they are commonly used as jackets for front teeth.
If you suspect you need a jacket (porcelain crown) for a front tooth, consult with a dentist as soon as possible—your smile is worth it.