When fixing a broken tooth or filling a gap in your smile, there are several options for you and your dentist to consider. These include dental crowns and dental implants.
While these two procedures may seem interchangeable, they have key differences that you need to know about.
The main difference between crowns and dental implants is how they attach to your teeth.
A crown is essentially a hat for your natural tooth.
Each implant consists of a dental crown and a titanium screw. Your dentist attaches the titanium screws to your jaw. Over time, the titanium fuses with your jaw bone to form a secure, natural-looking tooth replacement. Instead of simply covering your natural tooth, an implant replaces it from the root up!
Having a crown fitted is a quick, hassle-free appointment. You don’t need to prep the tooth in advance. Once the crown is in place, you may experience sensitivity, discomfort, or inflammation for a week before you feel normal. Read here for more information about dental crowns and their placement procedure.
Dental implants take much longer to place and heal. Some patients need a bone graft to prepare their jawbone for the implant, which can take up to six months to heal. You will need a bone graft if your jawbone is too thin or soft. Next, your dentist places the screws in your jawbone. It can take several months for the implant to fuse to your jawbone. Once this artificial tooth root is secure, your dentist places the abutment – the piece the crown attaches to. After about two weeks, this will have healed enough for your dentist to attach your fake tooth.
All in all, it can take an entire year to place a dental implant, depending on the work that needs to be done and your healing time. Once your implant is in place, it will take around four to six weeks for you to feel normal again.
In terms of initial cost, crowns are less expensive than dental implants. Dental implants require several visits with your oral surgeon. Crowns take only one appointment and require less hardware during placement.
But, these savings can be short-lived. You must replace crowns every 10-15 years, which drives up the overall cost. Dental implants are permanent teeth and don’t require the same frequent care. It might work out cheaper to opt for implants depending on your oral health and your age.
Another thing to consider regarding the cost is what your insurance covers. Most insurance plans cover crowns, and many don’t cover implants. This impacts your out-of-pocket expense for the procedure.
Looking after a crown or a dental implant is a similar process. You’ll need to brush and floss as with your natural teeth. Be careful when chewing hard foods (such as candy, large nuts, or ice) and sticky foods (such as toffee or caramel).
Make sure to visit your dentist when necessary to schedule yearly checkups and deep cleanings.
Dental Implants vs. Crowns: What’s Right for You?
Clearly, there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to the dental implants vs. crowns debate. The best option for you will take into account your tooth condition, lifestyle, financial situation, and oral health. Chat to your family dentist about your options and choose the option that works best for you!
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