When you need restorative dental treatment for cavities, decay, or tooth loss, your dentist may recommend several options, including dental implants and crowns. However, there are factors to consider when choosing between dental crowns and implants. Both solutions effectively restore the tooth, but they are not the same. In situations where either dental treatment can work, there are pros and cons to each. Ultimately, your dentist can help you select the restoration that best fits your needs and lifestyle.
How Are Dental Implants and Crowns Different?
A dental implant replaces an entire tooth from the root to the crown. A titanium post acts like your natural tooth root, while a crown fits on the top, giving you a new artificial tooth. Conversely, a dental crown is a cap-shaped restoration that replaces only the tooth’s damaged part without addressing the roots. Many people believe crowns and implants are interchangeable because the dental implant’s structure includes a crown.
The crown element of an implant is the same as the dental crown used by itself. They are both produced from materials that make them feel and look like natural teeth. The difference is that the implant’s crown is attached to a post and abutment, and a traditional crown is fitted over the natural tooth.
The Purpose of Dental Implants and Crowns
Dental crown and implant procedures have different purposes. Dental implants are ideal for patients facing major tooth decay or damage leading to tooth loss or extraction. On the other hand, traditional crowns are ideal when a tooth needs restoration and protection, but the root is intact.
The Processes for Dental Implants and Crowns
The dental crown process takes approximately 3-4 weeks because only the visible part of the tooth is addressed. You will need one appointment for a consultation and exam and the last appointment for the placement of your crown. However, some dental crowns can be crafted in one sitting, and the patients do not have to wait for their custom crown.
The dental implant process is longer and more complex than traditional crowns. Two appointments are needed for assessing and preparing your jaw for the implant. A titanium post is anchored into your jaw and an abutment is placed on top. It takes about 3-4 months to allow for implant post to fuse with your jawbone in a process called osseointegration. After the bone and gums heal, the crown is fitted to complete the tooth and renew your smile.
Difference in Money and Time
The dental implant process can take multiple months from start to finish. However, depending on the type of crown you choose, a traditional crown will only take 1-2 visits. Dental implants often cost more money compared to a traditional crown.
Longevity and Durability of Dental Implants and Crowns
The durability of dental implants and crowns also makes them different from each other. Dental crowns may last for 10-15 years if you maintain proper oral hygiene. Since dental implants replace the entire tooth and are partially composed of titanium, they tend to last longer and the implant post is permanent. You can expect dental implants to last for many years with good daily oral hygiene habits and biannual dental visits.
Which One Is Right for You?
When deciding on the best dental restoration for your needs, you should ultimately seek the opinion of your dentist. If your dentist believes your tooth may be saved, a dental crown is usually the most effective solution. If your dentist determines that your tooth cannot be saved, then it will be extracted, and a dental implant is a great restoration option. Your dentist will discuss your options and help you decide whether a dental implant or traditional crown is the right choice for you.