Dental crowns vs implants: what’s the best option for your needs?

Dental implants vs crowns, if you have missing teeth it could be tough to choose between them. Both are equally good because they restore the health as well as aesthetics of teeth. However, every situation is different so a dental evaluation and advice are important in this regard. Statistically, implants have shown a 98% success rate while crowns have shown a 95% success rate at 5 years. While both are great ways of maintaining the health of your teeth, you must know the main differences between them.

Dental crowns vs implants: Why and how are they different?

Dental implants vs crowns, which one is better and why? These are questions we are aiming to answer here for you with the necessary information. Dental crowns vs implants are both restorative dentistry procedures to fix many dental issues. Sometimes they are treated as alternatives so one must be fully aware of the technical differences between them. 

  • Difference in structure and design
  • Difference in purpose
  • Difference in process 
  • Difference in price
  • Difference in composition, i.e. materials
  • Difference in longevity 
  • Difference in placement   

Difference in structure and design

The first factor differentiating crowns from implants is their design and structure. A dental implant essentially replaces an entire tooth from its root with the help of a titanium abutment. The abutment is placed into the root area mimicking a new root structure. Dental bone grafting is a way to restore bone density when there is extensive bone loss due to damage. On the other hand, crowns are cap-shaped restorations replacing the damaged part of the tooth only without touching the roots. 

Difference in purpose

Dental implants and crowns may seem like interchangeable procedures but the fact is that they have different purposes. While an implant replaces a whole tooth along with its root, a crown just replaces the damaged part of the tooth. Dental implants are better for patients facing major damage or decay leading to tooth extraction. On the contrary, crowns are effective when a tooth can be restored and the damage has not penetrated the roots. 

Difference in process

The process of dental implants is fairly longer than crowns. Like we mentioned before, dental implants replace an entire tooth along with its root hence the procedure is much more complex and time-consuming. Crowns usually do not take longer than 3-4 weeks because it involves treating the superficial part of the tooth.

It takes around two appointments to assess and prepare the tooth for an implant. Since a bone-shaped titanium abutment is grafted into the root area, it takes around 3-4 months for bone growth. After the gums and bone heal, the screw and crown are placed for a complete tooth structure. This whole process takes 3-4 months.

On the contrary, crowns take just one appointment for an assessment and the rest of the process takes 3-4 weeks. Certain types of crowns take just one sitting and patients do not have to wait for a long time for their teeth to heal. 

Difference in price 

The prices of dental implants and crowns differ because of different procedures and apparatus. Since the procedure of implants is much more complex, it costs more than crowns. Dental crowns on the other hand have a standard price and it differs from material to material. Among crowns, porcelain and zirconia veneers have the highest cost. Whereas, among implants, titanium and zirconium abutments cost higher than other metals. There is an additional cost of the crown also and it depends on the material chosen. 

Difference in composition, i.e materials

As mentioned above there are plenty of options available for the composition materials of implants and crowns. However, there are limited options available among implants because of the complexity of the procedure. It is made sure that biocompatible materialsare used for implants because they come directly in contact with the bone and gums. The most common abutment choice of dentists is Titanium because it responds well to other materials. Other materials include Aluminum and Zirconium oxide. 

On the other side, crowns are available in many materials. Since there are more options, patients can choose according to their budget. 

Difference in longevity

How long crowns and implants also make them different from each other. Crowns are expected to last somewhere between 10-15 years if one takes proper care of their oral hygiene. Temporary veneers do not last more than 5 years because of inexpensive materials such as composite. 

Since implants replace the entire tooth from its root, the best quality products are used in it. On average, implants are expected to last from 20 to 30 years with consistent oral care habits. 

Difference in placement

While dental implants are successful when placed on any teeth, crowns are more successful on the back teeth. It happens because implants are root substitutes so you get a new tooth from scratch. On the other hand, crowns repair the damaged part of the tooth and replace it with a new biting surface. 

Pros and cons of dental crowns and implants

Pros of dental crowns and implants

  • They Rebuild Tooth Structure: The biggest advantage of having dental implants is that they repair and rebuild the complete structure of the tooth. They serve as natural teeth and blend in with the rest of the teeth. Crowns, too, rebuild the biting surface of a tooth so it can function normally with other teeth. 
  • Long-term Investment: Dental implants and crowns both last for a long time. With proper care and dental hygiene, you can expect both of them to last for decades. Although their price might be relatively high, they save you from possible dental problems for a long time.
  • Bone loss prevention: Implants and crowns both rebuild a damaged tooth by bringing overall alignment to the upper and lower jaw. When teeth align, there are lesser chances of bone loss or other bone irregularities. 
  • Both look natural: Implants and crowns both mimic natural teeth and look realistic. The process of implants is finished with a crown to make sure they look real. Crowns too replace the upper damaged part of the tooth and revive the natural appearance of the tooth. Therefore, both are worth your money if you have a qualified cosmetic dentist. 
  • Low Maintenance: Implants and crowns are long-term dental investments. This essentially not just means they last for a long time but they don’t need frequent maintenance. Titanium implants and porcelain or zirconia crowns outlast all other types of materials. You just need to keep good oral health and healthy teeth. Also, one of the most common options for maintenance is a dental cleaning once or twice a year.

Cons of dental crowns and implants

  • Long procedures: One of the downsides of implants is that the procedure is a bit too long. Crowns too can take a long time, especially if a root canal is needed. 
  • Costly procedures: Since the process of implants is complex and time-consuming, their cost can be a bit on the higher side. Prices of crowns can be a bit high, particularly all-porcelain and zirconium ones. 
  • Non-conservative procedures: Implants and crowns are both relatively non-conservative procedures. Tooth prep for implants is more intense than crowns because they involve inserting apparatus in the root area. 
  • Minimum Aftercare: Little to no complications are expected after an implant or crown procedure goes well. The only requirement is to look after your dental hygiene by regular brushing, flossing, and dentist visits. 
  •  Possible side effects: In case the procedures are not successful, there may be a few side effects. There is a risk of gum infection, swelling, or bleeding if the implant or crown is not fitted properly. This is why it is important to choose a professional and qualified cosmetic dentist. 

What is the difference between dental implant crowns and normal crowns?

Dental implant crowns and standard crowns are potentially the same but their process is different. Dental implant crowns are applied after the implant process to secure the abutment underneath. On the other hand, standard crowns are placed after the damaged part of the tooth is scraped. A crown is necessary for the implant process because it secures the implant and mimics a real tooth. Standard crowns are placed to restore the compromised health of a tooth when it decays or is damaged. Similar materials are used for both implant crowns and standard crowns.

Crowns vs Implants: which one is better for you?

Although a dentist’s advice is crucial when deciding between crowns and implants, here are the common problems they are suitable for. Since implants replace an entire tooth along with its root they can be placed anywhere one is missing teeth. Crowns are more effective for situations involving extensive tooth decay, partial tooth breakage, etc. 

You can get implants if you have: You can get crowns if you have: 
Multiple or all missing teethExtensive decay that has not penetrated the root
Extensive decay leading to tooth extractionDamaged or broken tooth 
If you are allergic to metals or any other materialsDiscolored teeth 
 Large gaps between teeth 

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