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dental implant vs crown sydney

Dental Implant vs Crown – Which Is More Suitable For You?

Dental implants have been used since the 1960s and have become one of the most popular restorative dentistry procedures. With advancing technology, dental implants have become more biocompatible, functional and realistic. The dental crown that completes a dental implant procedure has also improved due to technology like CEREC same-day crown machines.

Dental implant and crown procedures are popular because they closely mimic a natural tooth’s functionality and aesthetics. If you’re facing the dilemma of either saving a tooth or replacing it with a restoration, then chances are you’ll be considering a dental implant vs a crown. Both are common solutions that tackle the problem of tooth decay and/or trauma, yet each one provides its benefits.

To help you make an informed decision, we delve further into the advantages and disadvantages of each so you can see just how dental implants vs dental crowns can help you.

What are Dental Crowns?

pros cons dental implant vs crown sydneyUnlike dental implants that are cleverly designed to replace the whole tooth, a dental crown sits over and protects the top (visible) part of an existing tooth. Sometimes referred to as a ‘cap’, it remains a highly effective treatment to save and restore an existing tooth that is cracked, chipped, broken, decayed or has undergone root canal treatment.

Although dental crowns are, in effect, ‘fake’ teeth, when the treatment is carried out properly and with the right materials, a dental crown can be both natural-looking and durable, blending in seamlessly with your existing smile.

Dental crowns are designed for restorations with either an existing tooth or implant already in place.

The Pros of Dental Crowns

  • Since dental crowns are used to save an existing tooth, there’s no need for removal or expensive surgery, and they can be completed in just two to three dental visits, minus the recovery process.
  • Crowns protect the existing tooth, preserving its life that much longer.
  • Modern-day crowns are exceptionally durable and lifelike and can even be colour-matched to blend in with your existing smile.

The Cons of Dental Crowns

  • Because a crown needs to be held in position by the existing tooth, the affected tooth is filed down to ensure the crown fits perfectly on top. Unfortunately, this is an irreversible dental procedure. This can be challenging when there is limited tooth to reshape, your tooth is badly broken, or there’s insufficient tooth root.
  • Patients often experience heightened sensitivity of the underlying tooth until it reduces after a few weeks.
  • Although ceramic and all-porcelain crowns are ultimately the best in aesthetics, they don’t last as long as PFM (porcelain-fused-to-metal) varieties. However, with PFM crowns, the metal substructure can be visible through the tooth on occasion, so you may need to forfeit the best aesthetics for longevity.
  • Over time, the dental cement used to attach a dental crown to the restoration can weaken, and the crown becomes loose. This is an inconvenience that can occur at the most inopportune moments.
  • A crowned tooth can become diseased. Sometimes, dental cement that bonds the dental crown over the existing tooth can wear away over time, leaving tiny holes which enable bacteria to get underneath the crown and into the natural tooth below. This can cause the underlying tooth to become diseased and start to decay.
  • Natural teeth fitted with dental crowns can become problematic even when dental cement is good because the surrounding gum can also succumb to gum disease, which, in turn, can spread to the natural tooth root and eventually into the tooth itself.

What are Dental Implants?

advantages disadvantages dental implant vs crown sydney

As a general rule of thumb, your dentist will recommend dental implants when problem teeth are unsalvageable and need to be removed or when you already have one or more missing tooth gaps. While tooth loss is decreasingly prevalent globally, it is still common for ageing populations to lose teeth.

Dental implant procedures replace missing teeth, severely cracked teeth and overly-decayed teeth, and they are great for people who prefer not to wear dentures. They are a long-term solution because only the dental crown typically needs replacing. A dental crown replacement is usually necessary 5-15 years after the completed procedure.

As the name suggests, dental implants are designed to be implanted directly into the jaw bone at the missing tooth site. They consist of a titanium screw or post, which is biocompatible, lightweight and durable. Once the screw or post is anchored firmly into position, it’s a multifunctional fixture designed to support several tooth restorations. These can be in the form of:

  • Dental crowns
  • Dental bridges
  • Full or partial dentures

The main difference between a dental implant vs a crown procedure is that a dental crown is a non-surgical process where patients can receive permanent restoration within a few short weeks. Alternatively, a dental implant restoration requires a surgical procedure, and as a result, the process from start to finish can take up to nine months to complete.

The Pros of Dental Implants

  • Dental implants replace the whole tooth, including the tooth root, so it’s an ideal option when the tooth either can’t be saved or is already missing. If you have suffered an accident or trauma where several adjacent teeth are missing, a better solution might be to go down the route of a conventional dental bridge or an implant-supported bridge.
  • Because dental implants are firmly anchored into the jaw, they can halt the bone loss process when a tooth is missing. The same cannot be said for other forms of tooth restoration.
  • Once fitted, dental implants are a permanent fixture in the mouth. As such, they represent a no-hassle solution to missing teeth replacement. In fact, implants are the gold standard and can be treated just like natural teeth.
  • Finally, because of their reliable strength, patients can eat what they like, when they like. Alternatively, you would still need to be careful when eating crunchy vegetables, toffee or candy when you have a dental crown.
  • A dental implant cannot fall foul of decay or gum disease like a natural tooth because it isn’t a living organism. With proper oral care, a dental implant and the attached crown are easier to care for because they are less susceptible to dental issues.

The Cons of Dental Implants

  • An implant-based restoration does require a surgical procedure. As such, you can expect treatment to cost more initially than a dental crown.
  • While a patient can typically expect their permanently restored crown to be ready and fitted within a few weeks, dental implants take longer, with patients undergoing treatment on average for around four to six months. The reason? Time is needed for the bone tissue to fuse with the titanium implant, which gives the implant its strong foundation.
  • For a dental implant to stand the best chance of longevity, it needs to be planted into sufficient and healthy bone. Unfortunately, this won’t always be true for those with prolonged tooth gaps. As such, patients will often require bone grafting before a dental implant can be placed. This can extend the process by two to three months and ramp up the costs involved.

Step-by-Step Dental Implant vs Crown Procedure

A dental implant is a restorative dental procedure typically taking multiple months to complete. The multi-stage implant process starts with evaluation and tooth extraction and is complete once a personalised dental crown is fitted onto the healed implant and abutment.

  • Evaluation and tooth extraction

The first step to receiving dental implants is an evaluation of your teeth and jawbone. If your dentist determines the tooth is unhealthy enough to repair, they perform an extraction. Your dentist then needs to inspect your jaw for density and thickness to ensure it can support a dental implant. If not, they may recommend a bone grafting procedure to strengthen the bone to accommodate the anchoring screw.

Dental implants consist of three components: The anchoring screw, an abutment, a dental prosthetic or the crown. The screw is embedded in your jawbone and acts as the new tooth’s root. It is made of titanium, which allows your jaw to grow around it.

  • Dental implant surgery

Dental implant surgery is usually an outpatient procedure that uses local anaesthesia so you feel no discomfort. The procedure takes about an hour from start to finish, depending on the complexity.

Your dentist administers anaesthesia and begins the surgery by opening the gums to reveal the jawbone. Then they drill a hole and place a long screw into the jawbone. Since the screw serves as the new tooth’s root, it is placed deep into the bone. Your dentist closes and sutures your gum tissue.

Before attaching a dental crown to the implant, the anchoring screw must osseointegrate. This is the biological process where your bone grows around the screw, fusing it in place. It may take up to 12 weeks before your implant is ready for abutment and restoration.

  • Abutment and dental crown placement

Once the anchoring screw osseointegrates, your dentist can outfit it with an abutment that holds the dental crown. This involves incising the gums to expose the dental implant screw. The abutment attaches to the screw, and the gums are closed around but not over the abutment. The gums heal for two to four weeks, and you’re ready for the final stage of the implant procedure.

Before the dentist places the crown on the abutment, they must customise it to fit your mouth. CEREC technology allows No Gaps Dental dentists to create unique ceramic crowns in the office on the same day as impressions are taken. The CEREC machine uses computer-aided design and manufacturing to create a personalised crown that perfectly fits and matches your natural tooth colour.

Once the crown is made, the dentist secures it to the abutment. The colour-matching ceramic crown looks just like your natural teeth and restores function to your bite.

Dental Implants vs Crowns Cost

While your insurance and the dental practice determine the exact cost of a dental implant and crown procedure, additional factors also affect the price. Dental implants cost more when additional procedures are necessary to complete the implant surgery. Tooth extraction and bone grafting are the most common complementary procedures.

The dental crown material also impacts the implant procedure’s price. Dental implants with expensive crown materials like metal-alloy or porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns will likely increase costs compared to porcelain/ceramic or composite resin crowns. Beyond price considerations, people choose different materials for their strengths and aesthetics:

  • Metal alloy is the strongest material but lacks a natural tooth appearance. This makes metal-alloy crowns ideal for molar replacements, where teeth must withstand intense bite force.
  • Composite resin is the least expensive and has great aesthetics, but it does not last as long because it is the weakest material. It is commonly used for cosmetic restorations where functionality is not a primary concern.
  • Ceramic combines an aesthetically-pleasing appearance with strength.
  • Metal-oxide-infused ceramic, a commonly used crown material, lasts over ten years 94% of the time. Its strength and visual appeal make it appropriate for front or back teeth.

Dental Implant vs Crown — Which is Best for Me?

Ideally, a dental implant is a more cost-effective solution in the long term and offers a near-permanent fixture in the mouth lasting several decades or more with sound oral care. Do bear in mind, however, that any implant-based restoration will require at least one surgical procedure. Even though modern dental implant procedures are both comfortable and entail reduced surgery time, you should expect to factor in a little recovery time.

Alternatively, you may opt for a contemporary dental crown instead for those who don’t feel that a surgical procedure is right for them and are looking to protect an existing tooth.

Book a consultation with No Gaps Dental and Take the First Step to Improve Your Well-being with Dental Implants and Crowns

So there you have it. Hopefully, we’ve given you plenty of factors when considering the dental implant vs crown debate.

If you have a problematic tooth causing you pain and negatively impacting your well-being, ask your dentist about dental implants. Over a few dentist visits, you can restore your smile, regain your chewing ability and improve your quality of life by replacing a single damaged tooth with a dental implant or crown.

No Gaps Dental has 15 locations in and around Sydney, making oral health care accessible and convenient. Our experienced dentists are happy to talk with you about dental implants and the other services we offer. If you still have any questions or need advice, call (02) 8806 0227 or book a consultation with the team at No Gaps Dental today. We can help you find the best solution for your needs.

Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

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