Improving your confidence starts with finding a high-quality replacement for teeth that are damaged or missing. Dental implants are the most realistic solution for replacing missing teeth available on the market today. The choice between dental implants vs crowns might seem like a hard one, but they serve two different purposes, and each has its unique benefits.
When you need restorative dentistry, it’s worth understanding both options so you can make an informed decision about your treatment.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are a permanent solution to missing teeth that look and function like a real tooth. They are the most realistic in appearance and can withstand even more pressure than a natural tooth.
Dental implants consist of three parts:
- The implant
- The abutment
- A crown or prosthetic tooth
The implant is placed during a small surgical procedure in which an incision is made in the gums, and a hole is drilled into the jawbone. A small titanium rod is inserted into the bone before the incision is closed, and this serves as your new tooth’s root. In a 4- to 6-month process called osseointegration, the metal rod fuses with the jawbone, creating a supportive substitute for a tooth root.
After this occurs, you can return to the dentist for another small procedure where the abutment, or connector, is placed. This is how your dentist fastens the artificial tooth to the implant and keeps any gum tissue from growing into the implant. At this point, your dentist also takes impressions or digital scans to get an accurate measurement of the surrounding teeth and the abutment. You’ll then wait for your prosthesis to be made. If it’s being sent away to a lab with the physical impressions, this can take another couple of weeks.
Dentistry on Solent offers digital dental implant procedures that use 3D computer models of the jaw to precisely place the implant, shorten the surgery time and decrease any infection risk. Since your dentist has an accurate picture of your jawbone from the computer modelling, they can place the implant without raising the gingival flap or making an incision in the gum line, down the bone. With this less-invasive procedure comes an accelerated healing process.
What are Dental Crowns?
Dental crowns are hollow caps that sit on top of your teeth to fix them cosmetically and maintain existing tooth structure. Your dentist numbs the area surrounding the damaged tooth with local anaesthetic and then files the tooth down to make room around it for the crown. Next, impressions are taken of the filed tooth and used to shape your custom crown.
Until your final crown is ready, a temporary crown holds its place. When you return to have your final crown placed, the dentist removes the temporary one and cements the new one in place.
Dental Implants vs Crowns
How do you choose between dental implants vs crowns? Each option has its benefits. For teeth that are missing, dental implants offer a permanent substitute for a tooth while simultaneously stimulating your jawbone.
If you have a tooth that is damaged or has a large filling but the root is still functioning and healthy, a crown is better suited to cosmetically replacing your existing tooth by sitting over top of it.
You may also need a crown if you have had a root canal, but there is enough existing tooth structure still in place to support a crown.
The benefits of dental implants include:
A longer lifespan
Dental implants are considered permanent teeth that are designed to last for decades. Their appeal is that even though they are more expensive than dental crowns, you’ll only have to pay for them once. Dental crowns usually need to be replaced every 10to 15 years because of wear. Depending on your age, this can mean spending more on dental crowns in the long term.
Lessened risk of bone degradation
If you’re missing a tooth completely and there’s no root left, a dental implant is the better choice because it improves your jaw health. Over time, gaps in your teeth lead to weakening of the jawbone because there’s no root stimulating the bone when you’re chewing.
Maintains your facial structure
Your teeth help to support the structure of your face. When you lose teeth, it can lead to bone resorption in the jaw, impacting your face’s structure. Dental implants are the most tooth-like replacement for missing teeth because they also help support your facial structure.
It functions like a real tooth
A dental implant is just as strong as your natural teeth and in some ways, is even sturdier because it can stand more pressure. Its permanent fixture to the jawbone allows it to look and feel just like a natural tooth so you don’t have to limit what you can eat or drink. You can brush and floss your teeth as normal.
When are Crowns a Better Option?
Sometimes, dental crowns are a more suitable option for your situation. If your teeth aren’t missing entirely, but are just damaged or unsightly, a dental crown can be a good solution. Dental crowns are:
- More affordable
- Protect a tooth from further damage
- A cosmetic solution
Dental crowns can be used to improve a tooth’s appearance and provide support for surrounding teeth when the tooth’s root is still viable. In comparison, dental implants are an excellent solution for a gap in your smile following an extraction.
To find out more about dental implants vs crowns and the right choice for you, contact Dentistry on Solent at (02) 9158 6137.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.