Dental implants and crowns are two potential solutions for damaged or decayed teeth. They are also very different solutions, each with its own benefits and drawbacks.
What Is a Dental Implant?
When a tooth is missing or too damaged to be saved, dental implants are a preferred option for restoration. The reason oral surgeons advocate for implants over other solutions is because they are the only dental restoration that replaces the full tooth, including the root. This helps retain jawbone and keeps your bite strong; it also prevents facial collapse.
Dental implants are small titanium posts that are placed directly in the jaw. Abutments are attached to these posts and then your replacement teeth are secured to the abutments. The result is a complete restoration of function and appearance.
Pros and Cons of Dental Implants
If you’re deciding between a dental implant and a crown, you likely still have your natural tooth, but it’s been damaged. These are factors that may help you make your decision about whether to replace your tooth with an implant or repair it with a crown.
Con: You will need your tooth extracted first.
Dental implants replace your full tooth. Because of this, the first step to getting implants in the case of a damaged tooth is to have the tooth extracted. Dental professionals prefer to be conservative and preserve your natural teeth when at all possible, so we see this as a drawback to implants unless a tooth cannot be saved.
Pro: A dental implant is a permanent solution.
Crowns and bridges need to be replaced every 10-15 years, or more frequently in the case of breakage or neglect. With proper care, dental implants last a lifetime.
Con: Dental implants are expensive.
Dental implants are an investment. If you still have a natural tooth, it’s unlikely that insurance will pay for an implant instead of a crown, especially if your tooth can be saved.
Pro: Dental implants are easier to care for and maintain.
Taking care of your dental implants is as easy as brushing, flossing, and seeing your dentist for your regular 6-month checkups.
What Is a Dental Crown?
Dental crowns restore damaged teeth above the gumline. Think of them as caps that protect your teeth from further damage or decay. They’re bonded to your tooth with dental cement and they can be made from metals or tooth-colored porcelain.
Pros and Cons of Dental Crowns
Dental crowns have been the standard treatment for damaged teeth for decades. Here’s what to consider with crowns.
Pro: Treatment is less invasive.
Your tooth won’t need to be extracted like it will with a dental implant. The process is easier and less time-consuming––and it doesn’t involve surgery.
Con: Crowns need replacement.
Unlike dental implants, crowns aren’t permanent. You can expect to have to replace them occasionally and they’re also more prone to breakage than implants.
Pro: At least part of your natural tooth is retained with a crown.
This is always good news for your oral health. Dental implants are safe and effective, but not completely without risk. When the root of your tooth doesn’t need to be replaced, you don’t have to go through the long healing process, possible bone grafting, infection risk, etc.
Pro: Crowns are affordable.
If you have dental insurance, it is likely that all or part of the cost of crowns is covered.
Dental Implant vs. Crown: The Bottom Line
While we can outline the pros and cons of crowns and implants in this article, ultimately the only way to determine which option is right for you is to meet with you in person. Once we can evaluate the condition of your tooth, we can see whether it’s worth trying to save with a crown or if you’re better off getting an extraction and dental implant.
Schedule an Appointment
For a consultation with one of our Warren, NJ oral surgeons, contact us at 908-222-7922.