Keeping up with all of the latest dental terminology and procedures can get a bit confusing at times. When some terms are used interchangeably and others are not, it may leave some people in a fog as to what is actually happening to their smile during his or her dental treatment. Being more informed about a subject can often put your mind at ease, and let you make sound decisions with more clarity.
One of the most common topics of confusion is whether or not a dental crown and a dental implant are the same thing, or two completely separate things. Both terms are used in such a frequent manner that it’s hard to understand what is being discussed without truly knowing the difference between the two. Here’s everything you need to know about the difference between dental crowns and dental implants:
Dental implants are prosthetic roots that serve to function the same way a natural tooth root does. It is placed directly into the jaw, fusing itself with the bone and can last an entire lifetime.
Each implant root is made of titanium, which is a hospital grade material frequently used in joint replacements throughout the body. It is extremely biocompatible, and encourages new bone growth around the implant once it is implanted.
Once your implant is secured in place, an abutment is positioned on top of the implant. The abutment supports the permanent restoration, and is screwed directly into an opening at the top of the implant. Implants may be used to support a dental crown, bridge, or even a full arch of teeth (upper or lower).
A dental crown is created to look like a tooth above the gum line. It does not extend below the gums or anchor itself independently in place. Instead, it is placed over a tooth being restored, such as a tooth that has had a root canal, very large fracture, or severe tooth decay. Crowns are used when fillings are inadequate, due to the size of the tooth damage that has occurred. Because crowns cover the entire surface of the tooth above the gum lines, they protect the tooth from additional wear and tear caused by biting or chewing.
Dental crowns are usually made of porcelain or porcelain fused to metal. The porcelain of the crown is color-matched to resemble the shade of teeth alongside the one being restored. Dental crowns are very strong, and can last for many years and even your entire life.