Our teeth are constantly exposed to temperatures that range from freezing to near boiling, they live in an environment that is filled with bacteria, plaque, and acid, and are asked to sustain forces of 120+ pounds per square inch! And if that wasn’t enough, our teeth are expected to keep on working for us throughout our lifetime. Now that is a big ask!
It’s only natural that your teeth might encounter stains, cavities, gum disease or chips and even breaks in our lifetime. Modern dentistry has gone through major advancements in the last 40 years, making sure that your teeth stay healthy, strong, sound, and last you a lifetime.
Some of those advancements focus specifically on dental crown technology, which can save weak, or compromised teeth, and dental implant technology, which replaces missing teeth.
If one, or several of your teeth have been affected by trauma or decay, a crown or an implant can be a great solution. While a dental crown is a cap that replaces the top part of the tooth, a dental implant is an artificial tooth that replaces your entire tooth.
Your dentist is always the best place to start when you want to learn which one is better for your situation, and it never hurts to understand more about dental procedures.
What is a Dental Crown?
- A dental crown is a replacement for the top part of the tooth. A successful crown will look and feel like your own tooth.
- A crown is often referred to as a “cap” because it caps a damaged tooth. It is kept in place by being “cemented” to the remaining tooth.
- It can be a highly effective treatment to improve the strength and appearance of damaged teeth and restore your smile and confidence.
When are Dental Crowns Used?
Dental crowns are used for a variety of purposes:
- To restore broken or worn down teeth
- To protect teeth weakened by decay, crack, or chips.
- To improve the smile by covering discolored or misshapen teeth.
- To provide support for a dental bridge, which requires two healthy teeth on either side.
What are Dental Crowns Made Of?
Depending on your situation, your dentist may discuss different types of dental crowns:
- Metal crowns are durable, long-lasting, and made to withstand pressure from constant chewing and biting. Due to its color, they are often used for molars
- Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns are undetectable and are fitted perfectly to match the color of your teeth.
- Ceramic/Porcelain crowns are ideal for those with metal allergies. They naturally fit with your smile and match the color of your teeth.
Additional Dental Procedures Needed for a Dental Crown?
If you have major tooth decay or damage, you may require additional dental procedures before you are fitted for a dental crown:
- Deep professional cleaning
- Root canal
- Dental X-Rays
What is a Dental Implant?
- A dental implant functions like a natural tooth. It has an artificial root that replaces the root of the natural tooth when the natural tooth has to be removed.
- Dental implants are an effective long-term solution if you suffer from missing teeth, failing teeth, or chronic dental problems.
- Because it fits, feels, and functions like a natural tooth, dental implants are becoming a new standard in tooth replacement.
- You can use dental implants to replace a single tooth, multiple teeth, or a full upper and/or lower set of teeth.
When Are Dental Implants Used?
In general, a dental implant may be the right choice for you if you:
- Have one or more missing teeth
- Have healthy gums and adequate bone to secure the implants
- Don’t have health conditions that will affect bone healing
- Are willing to commit several months to the process
- Don’t smoke tobacco
What are Dental Implants Made of?
- Dental implants are made of titanium alloy, which is the same metal used for hip implants, shoulder implants, and knee implants.
- Titanium alloy is highly biocompatible, and allergy is extremely rare.
Additional Dental Procedures Needed for a Dental Implant?
A dental implant requires surgery and is usually performed in stages, as the process includes multiple steps with healing time between the procedures:
- Removal/extraction of the damaged tooth.
- When needed, jawbone preparation (grafting).
- Placement of the dental implant.
- Bone growth and healing.
- Abutment placement (the piece where the crown will eventually attach).
- Artificial tooth placement.
In conclusion, dental crowns are used for cosmetic reasons, or to strengthen a tooth after a root canal, and implants are used when the whole tooth must be removed as a result of injury, decay, or trauma.
These rules are not strictly set in stone, and the best option is to meet with your dentist and discuss which option might be best for you and your situation.