Knowing the differences between dental crowns and dental implants is the first step towards making the best choice for your smile.

When it comes to treatment options for a damaged, weakened tooth, there are two main solutions that often come up: dental crowns and dental implants. Sometimes the right choice is immediately clear, but in many cases, it’s the patient’s decision for what they’d prefer.

A wonderful aspect of modern dentistry and patient-focused care is how valuable your ideas are to a dentist like Dr. May. In the case of choosing between a dental crown or a dental implant, Dr. May will guide you with his expert advice, but encourage you to make a final decision you’ll be most happy with.

Before you can begin to weigh the pros and cons of dental implants and dental crowns, it’s important to understand their similarities and differences. Although Dr. May will explain this during your consultation, we’re going to help prepare you by going over some of the general information you should know.

Let’s break down the basics of dental crowns and dental implants.

Dental crowns and dental implants are both forms of restorative dentistry. They both help to restore beauty and function after a tooth has been badly damaged, but they do this in two different ways.

Dental crowns protect a damaged tooth by covering it.

Dental crowns are made of porcelain, metal, or ceramic and are used to protect a weakened tooth. The tooth will be prepped by having some enamel removed to compensate for the thickness of the crown walls.

For a dental crown to be placed, there must be enough natural tooth left to properly support a crown. Dental crowns are most often used when a tooth has experienced significant decay or damage and a filling isn’t a suitable treatment option.

Dental implants protect your smile by replacing a lost tooth.

Dental implants don’t treat a damaged tooth like a crown does, they actually replace a missing tooth. Just as a crown is often used when a filling can’t be, dental implants can be the smile-saver when a tooth is so badly damaged it can’t support a crown.

Dental implants are a multi-piece dental fixture made of a titanium post placed within the jaw, a sturdy abutment that serves as a foundation for the prosthetic tooth, and finally, a dental crown! That’s right—dental crowns are the finishing touch on dental implants!

The major pros and cons of dental crowns and dental implants.

So you know that dental crowns help protect teeth from further damage and dental implants replace missing teeth. Now let’s go over the major advantages and disadvantages of each procedure.

Advantages of Dental Crowns

  • Crowns save teeth from needing to be extracted.
  • A treated tooth is less likely to experience further decay.
  • Placing a crown is minimally invasive and non-surgical.
  • Healing and recovery is usually quick and easy.
  • Porcelain crowns look very realistic and natural.
  • Crowns are typically quite affordable.
  • A well-cared for dental crown can easily last over a decade.

Disadvantages of Dental Crowns

  • While they inhibit tooth decay, crowns don’t prevent it entirely.
  • Crowns are a permanent decision and you’ll always need one on your tooth.
  • Crowns will need to be replaced if they become chipped or worn.
  • It isn’t unusual for a new crown to feel sensitive for a few weeks after being placed.
  • A temporary crown will need to be worn for a few weeks until your porcelain one arrives.

Advantages of Dental Implants

  • Dental implants are the most naturally functioning restorative dental procedure.
  • Implants prevent bone loss and facial sagging associated with missing teeth.
  • Titanium implant posts last a lifetime and success rates are over 95%.
  • You’ll have natural use and normal bite-strength with a healed implant.
  • Dental implants are a one-and-done procedure, meaning no further treatment is needed.
  • The cost vs value of a dental implant is very reasonable over the long haul.

Disadvantages of Dental Implants

  • Dental implants are a surgical procedure and require a specially trained dentist.
  • Getting a dental implant is a multi-step process requiring four or more appointments.
  • Initial recovery and overall healing can take four to six months.
  • A soft food diet will be needed for two weeks or so after post-placement.
  • The up-front cost of a dental implant is fairly expensive compared to other treatments.

How to make a final decision between getting a crown or an implant.

Generally speaking, it’s always best to do what’s possible to save a natural tooth rather than extract it. If Dr. May believes your tooth can be saved and is otherwise healthy, a dental crown is often the most reasonable solution. If Dr. May determines that your tooth cannot be saved, it will need to be extracted, in which case a dental implant is a fantastic solution.

Sometimes the chances of a problem tooth being saved or needing to be replaced can be borderline. If your tooth has significant damage or has already rejected a crown in the past, it may be best to simply extract the tooth and replace it with a dental implant.

As mentioned earlier, dental implants are a one-and-done type of procedure. For chronically problematic teeth, Dr. May and the patient may decide that it’s better to extract the tooth and replace it with an implant rather than continually try other forms of treatment that may not last.

Dr. May and the Metro East Dental Care team will guide you towards the best solution for your smile.

Our smiles are all unique and every patient requires specific care in order to get the best results. This is why it’s important to have a consultation with Dr. May before deciding on dental crowns or dental implants. You may have underlying health conditions or unique factors in your life that you haven’t yet considered that could point towards crowns or implants being your best option.

To schedule a consultation with Dr. May and his team, call our office or fill out our online appointment request form.