As an adult, the longer you can keep your own teeth, the better. Sometimes, however, cavities, advanced tooth decay, and gum disease all threaten the health of your teeth. Tooth loss can be frustrating, but there are steps your dentist can take to help.
What are dental crowns?
When you get a cavity, your dentist removes the damaged portion of your tooth and repairs it with a composite material. Fillings, however, do not always work. When the hole left by the cavity is too large, a crown must be used instead. Crowns are also used when your tooth is cracked or to protect your tooth after a root canal.
A dental crown is a cap that sits over the original tooth, filling in the hole left by the removal of the cavity and creating a sturdy surface for chewing food. A crown is permanently bonded to the remaining portion of the tooth by your dentist.
What are the drawbacks to having a crown?
Crowns are a semi-permanent solution and typically last only 5 to 15 years before they need to be replaced. Crowns can also break. If a crown breaks, your dentist can simply install another crown over the tooth again. You may experience discomfort during the time that there is not a crown on your tooth.
Can a tooth rot under a crown?
Getting a crown does not mean that you can stop worrying about dental decay. You still need to take care of your teeth by adequately brushing and flossing. Bacteria can damage the remaining tooth without proper dental hygiene techniques.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are also used when the tooth has severe damage from a cavity or trauma like a car accident. The tooth cannot be saved, so it is removed, a titanium screw is inserted into the bone and a prosthetic tooth is installed that both looks and functions like a real tooth.
While a prosthetic tooth may seem a little Frankenstein-esque, the procedure is fairly common.
Are there any drawbacks to having a dental implant?
The procedure for dental implants is longer, often requiring two to three visits to the dentist to finalize all the details. The increased time upfront, however, is worth it because dental implants have a much longer life expectancy than a crown. In fact, dental implants are considered a permanent solution.
Are the procedures expensive?
Both procedures can be expensive. A crown can cost up to $1,700 while implants can cost $4,500 or more. If you have dental insurance, it may help offset that amount by covering a percentage of the cost. No insurance, however, offers 100 percent coverage for restorative procedures like dental crowns and teeth implants. The cost, of course, can be weighed against the thought of living with dentures, or worse, missing teeth, both of which could affect the quality of your life.
So, which is better, a crown or an implant?
Neither a crown nor an implant is better or worse than the other. They are simply used in different situations for patients with different needs. You need to have a conversation with your dentist to decide as a team which is the best procedure for your mouth and your situation.
Being in a position where you need to have either a dental crown or an implant is not fun. Understanding the above information about the similarities and differences between a crown and a dental implant will help you work in tandem with your dentist to choose the solution that is best for you. Contact a dentist who offers these procedures to learn more about them.