When a tooth is damaged or severely decayed, there are different options for restoration. A dental implant replaces the entire tooth, root and all. A crown simply covers the tooth with a protective cap to protect the existing tooth and root. Which option is used depends on each individual patient and their needs. Consider the pros and cons of each option for tooth replacement.
Pros of Dental Implants:
Dental implants have a lot of benefits, such as:
- Jaw bone preservation. One of the biggest benefits of dental implants is the fact that the implant replaces the root of the tooth in the jaw bone, subsequently preserving bone structure in the jaw. When a tooth is pulled or a bridge is fitted, the part of the jaw bone that once held the tooth root in place will atrophy and eventually resorb. An implant prevents this from occurring.
- Secure hold. The implant/ root osseointegrates (bonds with) with existing bone in the jaw, forming a solid anchor for the artificial tooth to attach to. This is what helps to preserve the jaw bone as well. Dental implants can last a long time once the implant is anchored to the bone.
- No chance of further decay. A dental implant is completely artificial, therefore it is not susceptible to decay the way natural tooth material is. Once you get a dental implant placed, you no longer have to worry about whether or not that tooth will get a cavity or need a root canal.
Cons of Dental Implants:
Dental implants also have disadvantages, such as:
- High cost. Dental implants are on the high side when it comes to the cost of dental procedures. Insurance will sometimes cover a portion of a dental implant and sometimes not. Sometimes dental insurance covers the tooth portion and medical insurance covers the implant root. It all depends on the situation and your insurance plan.
- Longer procedure. A dental implant requires a few different procedures, thus taking longer than getting fitted with a crown. The placement of the implant root is slightly more invasive than a crown fitting.
- Possible preparatory work. Before a dental implant can be placed, there must be sufficient jaw bone to support it. If the bone is too thin or weak, a bone graft procedure may be required first, adding time and cost to the overall process.
Pros of Crowns:
Crowns, when possible, have many benefits, such as:
- Preserves the natural tooth root. When the root of the tooth is still viable, the existing tooth can be shaved down and a crown can be placed over the remaining tooth. This keeps your natural tooth root in place so that your crown functions naturally.
- Saves existing healthy tooth material. In many cases a lot of the healthy tooth material can be saved when a crown is placed. This preserves what is left of the tooth so that it will not continue to decay.
- Costs less than an implant. A crown is a less expensive procedure because it doesn’t require surgery to place.
Cons of Crowns:
There are certain disadvantages to crowns, such as:
- Problems can still occur with the existing tooth root. When the natural tooth root is kept intact, there is still a possibility of decay or an infection of the root that could require a root canal.
- Crown can come loose from the existing tooth. In some cases the crown will become loose and need to be reattached. When a crown is first placed it is cemented to the existing tooth material. Over time that cement can deteriorate and need to be reapplied.
- Crowns may not last as long as implants. On average, crowns can last for 5-15 years. But dental implants can last 15-30.
Choosing the Best Option
If the existing tooth root is still intact, it is usually in your best interest to have a permanent crown placed. The procedure is less invasive and costs less than a dental implant. However, if the existing tooth root cannot be saved, a dental implant is the best option for replacing the entire tooth and root system.
Need a Professional Opinion? Periodontal Associates Can Help
If you have a tooth that may need to be replaced, Periodontal Associates can help you determine which replacement option would be best for you.
Call 508-875-6185 today to schedule a consultation at our Framingham office or 617-964-6185 for our Newton Centre office. You can also request an appointment at your most convenient location. We look forward to helping restore your smile.