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Crowns and implants are two of the treatment options available for a damaged tooth. Both of these solutions can help you restore your smile and keep your mouth healthy. Dental crowns and implants both have their advantages and disadvantages. Ultimately, you will need to determine which one makes the most sense for you depending on your teeth and your dentist’s recommendation. At Mill Dam Dental Care, we offer both crowns and implants for our patients in Virginia Beach. Here’s what you need to know about these two treatment options, so you can determine whether a dental crown or implant is right for you.

What is a Crown?

Put simply, a dental crown is a cap that is put on top of a tooth. Crowns are typically put on top  of weak, damaged, or misshapen teeth to protect them and to restore the look of your smile.  Before placing a crown, your dentist may reshape your original tooth so that the crown fits over it more easily. 

Crowns can be made from a variety of different materials and replicate the look of a healthy tooth. Some of the most common materials for crowns include porcelain, ceramic, metal, or resin. Each of these materials have their own pros and cons. Your dentist can recommend the best material for your needs – some options are more durable, while others are better at replicating the look of a real tooth. 

Crowns are usually used when an original tooth is damaged but does not need to be pulled. Rather than when a group of teeth need repaired, crowns work best when a singular tooth needs to be repaired.

What is an Implant?

A dental implant is a more intensive procedure that is designed to replace a tooth that has already fallen out or been pulled. With a dental implant, metal posts are placed where the root of the tooth once existed. Modern implant planning software allows dentists to create an implant that is designed specifically for the shape of your mouth and also allows for perfect placement. After the initial metal post is set, it takes approximately three months for the mouth to heal completely. 

Once the base of the implant has properly healed and fused with the bone, your dentist will then place an artificial tooth on top of the implant. These artificial teeth are designed to look natural and fit in with the rest of your smile. They are also very durable and are designed to last for years with appropriate oral hygiene. 

Dental implants are usually the best choice for patients who have already lost a tooth or had a tooth pulled. Some teeth are so damaged that they cannot support a crown, in which case an implant will be necessary to restore your smile.

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Pros and Cons of Crowns

If you have a damaged tooth, there are advantages and disadvantages to getting a crown. Here’s what to keep in mind.

Crowns are less expensive than dental implants

Most dentists will suggest a crown rather than an implant whenever possible to help patients save money. Crowns are far less expensive than dental implants, making them a more accessible option for many patients.

Crowns are less invasive than dental implants

Another reason why many people prefer crowns over dental implants is because they are a far less invasive procedure. The process of getting a crown typically only takes two or three visits. Your dentist will design the crown in the first visit and then apply it in the second visit. It doesn’t take long to heal from a crown, so you’ll be back to your regular routine very quickly.

Crowns allow you to keep your natural teeth

There are many benefits to keeping your natural tooth whenever possible. With a crown, your teeth retain their original spacing. The crown sits on top of the original tooth, protecting it from further damage. Crowns also don’t require much maintenance beyond your standard oral hygiene – they can be cleaned with proper brushing and flossing, just like natural teeth.

Crowns don’t last as long as dental implants

While dental crowns are very durable, they don’t last quite as long as dental implants. Crowns can last anywhere between five and fifteen years. Once your crown starts to wear down, you will need to get it replaced. The life span of your dental crown can vary depending on the material it is made of as well as your personal oral health.

Pros and Cons of Dental Implants

As with crowns, there are advantages and disadvantages of using dental implants to replace damaged teeth. Here’s what to keep in mind.

Dental implants are the only treatment for lost or pulled teeth

There are many situations where a crown alone just isn’t going to be a feasible option. Many teeth are too weak to support a crown on their own, so an implant will be necessary to restore a healthy smile and the original tooth will need to be pulled. If the tooth has already come out, implants are going to be necessary in order to add an artificial tooth.

Dental implants are more durable

When compared to crowns, dental implants last much longer. The implants are designed to last for your entire life. The artificial tooth can last as long as 20 years with proper care and oral hygiene. Although they are more expensive and invasive, they last for a very long time.

Dental implants are very expensive and time-consuming 

The downside to dental implants is that they can be very pricey. The process is much more intensive and can take months to fully heal from. The high price tag of dental implants can make them inaccessible to some. If you need a dental implant but are worried about the cost, talk to your dentist about your options – they may be able to help you find a solution.

Dental crowns and implants are both very effective solutions for damaged teeth. Mill Dam Dental Care offers comprehensive dental care for our patients in Virginia Beach, Virginia. If you are in need of dental care, contact us today to schedule an appointment, and we can help you determine whether a dental crown or implant is the best treatment for you.