Dental implants and crowns are two possible options for restoring teeth that have been injured or have extensive decay. Despite this, crowns and implants are two very different types of treatments, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Here's everything you need to know when comparing dental implants and crowns.
What Is a Dental Implant?
When a tooth needs to be extracted because it is too damaged to be saved, dental implants are usually recommended as the best restoration option. Dentists and oral surgeons recommend implants above other treatments because they are the only dental restoration that replaces the whole tooth, including the root. The jawbone is preserved by replacing the root, which keeps your bite strong and prevents facial collapse, which results in a prematurely aged appearance.
Dental implants are small, surgically-placed posts that replace the root of a missing tooth. A crown, denture, or bridge is affixed to the implant(s), and an abutment is sometimes used to connect the implant with the restoration. Dental implants fully restore both function and appearance after tooth loss.
If you're choosing between a dental implant and a crown, your natural tooth is still present, but it's likely damaged. When weighing whether to replace a tooth with an implant or restore it with a crown, consider the following factors:
Advantages of Dental Implants
A dental implant is a permanent solution.
If properly cared for, dental implants can last a lifetime, although the restorations that attach to them need to be replaced occasionally due to wear and tear.
Extraction and replacement with an implant may allow you to avoid future procedures.
Depending on the condition of your tooth, keeping it and restoring it with a crown may lead to more dental issues down the road.
Disadvantages of Dental Implants
You will need your tooth extracted first.
Dental implants are used to replace missing teeth, which requires the extraction of your natural tooth. Dentists like to be conservative and save your natural teeth whenever possible, therefore implants are rarely recommended unless a tooth can no longer be saved.
Dental implants are expensive.
Dental implants are a substantial financial investment. If you still have your tooth, an implant is unlikely to be covered by insurance, especially if the tooth may be saved.
What Is a Dental Crown?
Teeth that are damaged above the gum line are restored with dental crowns. The damaged tooth structure is removed, and the remaining tooth is covered with a crown to protect it from additional damage, infection, or injury. Crowns are bonded to your teeth and are constructed of metal alloy, gold alloy, or tooth-colored materials.
Crowns have been the treatment of choice for teeth with significant decay or damage for many years. When it comes to dental crowns, there are a few things to consider:
Advantages of Dental Crowns
Treatment is less invasive.
You won't have to have your tooth extracted with a crown, unlike with a dental implant. Crowns are less invasive and time-consuming because they do not require oral surgery.
Part of your natural tooth is retained with a crown.
This is the best case scenario for your oral health. Dental implants are effective and safe, but they are not without risk. If the root of your tooth does not need to be replaced, opting for a crown means you will not have to go through a lengthy healing process, possible bone grafting, complication and infection risk, etc.
Crowns are affordable.
If you have dental insurance, crowns are likely to be covered by your plan, making it a more affordable option.
Disadvantages of Dental Crowns
Crowns need replacement.
Unlike dental implants, crowns aren't permanent. You'll have to replace them every five to 10 years.
Dental Implants vs. Crowns: The Bottom Line
While we can discuss the benefits and downsides of crowns and implants in this article, the only way to know which is best for you is to schedule an appointment for a consultation. We'll be able to tell you if your tooth is worth saving with a dental crown or if you'd be better off having it extracted and replaced with a dental implant.