Crowns vs. Implants Norwalk, CT
Dental implants and crowns are effective ways to restore smiles, giving people a chance to restore their teeth's natural appearance and function. With various options available, no one should have to deal with the hassle of missing or damaged teeth. Our oral surgeon and team look forward to helping you restore your smile.
Crowns and implants are available at Premier Oral Surgery in Norwalk and the surrounding area. If you are unsure which option best suits you, our oral surgeon and team can help you decide. Call our office at (203) 945-0049 to schedule an appointment.
What Is a Dental Crown?
A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap. Most often, they cover a damaged or misshapen tooth. Other times, they are installed to cover large cavities that are too big for traditional fillings. Crowns may also be used to cover implants or reinforce a more vulnerable tooth.
Dental crowns can consist of various materials, including ceramic, composite resin, porcelain, metal, zirconia, or a combination of these. The choice of material depends on several factors, including placement and appearance. For example, an oral surgeon may recommend metal crowns for back molars since they are stronger and less likely to chip when chewing and are not visible when smiling. Porcelain may be a better choice for teeth that are more visible in a smile due to cosmetic reasons.
Getting a traditional crown is typically a two-appointment process that varies slightly depending on the nature of the patient’s case. Our team will reshape the tooth during the first appointment and make an impression. We send the impression to the lab, where technicians make the actual crown. Our oral surgeon then cements the crown in place on the second visit. It takes two to three weeks for the lab to create the crown, so the patient must wear a temporary crown until the permanent crown is ready.
“Getting a traditional crown is typically a two-appointment process that varies slightly depending on the nature of the patient’s case.”
What Is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is a titanium screw placed into the jawbone below the gum line to act as a root for a replacement tooth or teeth. Once the implant fuses with the jaw, it is topped with an abutment and then a crown. In addition to supporting a single replacement tooth, implants may support a denture or bridge.
Typically, the process of getting a dental implant takes several months, from beginning to end. The process starts with the complete removal of the tooth and the placement of the titanium post that will serve as the new root. After placement of the titanium post, the patient must wait for three to six months while the post attaches to the jawbone through the process of osseointegration. Osseointegration is the natural process by which the jawbone forms around the dental implant.
The oral surgeon will then place the abutment that connects the artificial tooth to the titanium post. Even though the artificial tooth is a crown, it is being placed over the implant instead of a natural tooth. While there are variations in this process depending on the patient’s specific case, this is the overall process.
“A dental implant is a titanium screw placed into the jawbone below the gum line to act as a root for a replacement tooth or teeth.”
Similarities Between Crowns and Implants
Traditional dental crowns and implants offer similar benefits and serve similar purposes. Both offer options for replacing missing teeth and an alternative to partial dentures. Many patients prefer them because they function and look almost identical to natural teeth. Also, patients do not need to take them out each night to soak them. Another attractive benefit is that the patient does not have to worry about traditional or implant-supported bridges slipping or falling out. Though the implants are permanent, the bridge portion will need to be replaced every five to 15 years.
“Many patients prefer them because they function and look almost identical to natural teeth.”
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Differences Between Crowns and Implants
The oral surgeon considers the patient’s unique situation and preferences when advising on choosing between dental crowns or dental implants. Traditional crowns are usually the preferred choice if the teeth around the missing tooth site are healthy and intact. Though implants can be used in place of natural teeth, the underlying jawbone must be in good condition to support the implants. Crowns are the preferred treatment if a natural tooth can be saved and just needs support and protection. If only one tooth is missing and the neighboring teeth are in great condition, it may be more advantageous to use an implant. Using an implant would not require any altering to perfectly healthy teeth.
If several teeth or all of a person’s teeth are missing or need removal, full dental implants become a more likely option. There are several types of implant-supported full teeth replacement options on the market. Usually, with this approach, four to six implants support a full set of top and bottom teeth. The number of implants used depends on the patient’s situation. The jaw must be in good condition, or the patient must be a candidate for bone grafting for this to be a viable option.
“Crowns are the preferred treatment if a natural tooth can be saved and just needs support and protection.”
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After-Care for Crowns and Implants
Getting a dental crown tends to be a two-appointment process. The surgeon will first prepare the tooth for the crown and get an impression to send to the lab. Patients will wear a temporary acrylic crown between the first and second appointments. It will not be as strong as the permanent crown, so it is important patients take extra care during this time. For example, avoid hard, sticky, and chewy foods that risk chipping or detaching the crown.
Right after the procedure, patients may still be numb from any anesthetic, and there may be tenderness and bruising in the treatment area. It is a good idea to avoid chewing right after so as not to risk biting the inside of one’s cheek or irritating the area. While there is usually some sensitivity in the days following the placement of the permanent crown, it is likely to subside without intervention. Much of the discomfort can be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers.
Continue to avoid sticky foods for 24 hours after the procedure. However, if discomfort continues for several weeks or the bite still feels off after that much time, a dental professional should look into it. Though a rare occurrence, patients should call our office if they have an allergic reaction to the cement or if the crown feels loose or falls off.
There are various factors that can determine if a crown lasts five years or closer to 15. Choosing resin may be a less expensive material choice; however, it will wear down much faster than other options. The better a patient follows a solid daily oral hygiene routine, the longer their dental crowns and other dental work will last. Patients should regularly clean between the gum and pontic with a floss threader, interdental brush, or water flosser.
Following the initial dental implant procedure or procedures, there is a three to six-month healing process after the screw is placed. If a patient needs bone grafting to prepare the jaw, it will take about four to six months to heal before placing the implant. Many of the same post-procedure considerations also apply to getting a dental crown here. Our team will discuss how to manage oral health during these in-between periods.
Typical post-surgery issues include swelling, discomfort at the implant site, and a little bruising. The surgeon may prescribe antibiotics as a precaution, but most of the discomfort can be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers.
“Following the initial dental implant procedure or procedures, there is a three to six-month healing process after the screw is placed”
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What are some possible complications from getting dental implants?
A. Complications are rare but include sinus issues, nerve damage, teeth and surrounding tissue damage, and infection. Our team can treat these complications if they happen. In addition, there is a 5% chance of implant rejection. However, when rejected implants are replaced, they work over 90% of the time.
Q. Can dental implants and crowns decay?
A. The crown and implants are not subject to decay like natural teeth. However, the gums are still susceptible to gum disease, and the tooth under a crown can still decay. For this reason, oral hygiene remains important. Dental professionals recommend water flossers, interdental brushes, and floss threaders to assist with cleaning around crowns and implants. You will also want to continue routine dental visits.
Q. What is the cost difference between dental crowns and dental implants?
A. Dental implants tend to be significantly more expensive than dental crowns. The difference in cost can range dramatically based on the patient’s situation. After evaluating your case, our team can discuss the possible options and costs involved with you. Patients should also contact their dental insurance provider to find out about coverage.
Q. What is peri-implantitis?
A. Peri-implantitis is an infectious disease-causing inflammation and bone loss in the area around an implant. It can start with bacteria forming in the gums around the implant and is similar to gum disease. However, peri-implantitis is treatable and avoidable with proper oral hygiene.
Q. Can I whiten my dental crowns or dental implants?
A. This is one area in which natural teeth, crowns, and implants vary greatly. Some materials used to make prosthetic teeth are more resistant to stains than others; however, none of these materials can be whitened by the methods used to whiten natural teeth. Therefore, dental professionals often recommend patients have whitening procedures done before implant or crown work. Our team can discuss this and other cosmetic concerns at your consultation.
Start Feeling Better – Visit Us Today
By visiting us as soon as possible, our team can help get you the professional treatment you need. Instead of waiting around and allowing the symptoms to get worse, we can provide you with treatment options.
Call Us Today
If you are looking to restore your smile, consider dental crowns or dental implants. Our oral surgeon and team at Premier Oral Surgery can help you decide which option is right for you. Call us today at 203-945-0049 to learn more about our services or schedule an appointment.
Helpful Related Links
- American Dental Association (ADA). Glossary of Dental Clinical Terms. 2023
- American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry® (AACD). Home Page. 2023
- American Academy of Maxillofacial Prosthetics. American Academy of Maxillofacial Prosthetics. 2023
- American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. 2023
- American College of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. American College of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. 2023
- National Cancer Institute (NCI). National Cancer Institute (NCI). 2023
- WebMD. WebMD’s Oral Care Guide. 2023
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