Modern dental crowns will last for many years if properly cared for, but nothing lasts forever. After years of use, even the toughest, metal-bonded ceramic crowns will start to break down, leaving the tooth beneath vulnerable to damage and infection.
In most cases, it is possible to have a replacement crown fitted, but there is an alternative: having the crowned tooth extracted, and replaced with a dental implant. While dental implants are significantly more expensive than replacement crowns, they can be a much better investment.
If you have an aging dental crown in need of replacement, here are three reasons to consider having an implant fitted instead:
Durability And Longevity
Dental crowns can take a beating, but when it comes to durability, dental implants are in a class of their own.
Unlike crowns, dental implants do not rely on the remaining strength and stability of a damaged, natural tooth. Instead, they are attached directly to your jawbone by near-indestructible titanium screws. The replacement 'teeth' are screwed into these implants, and are generally made from porcelain or other durable ceramics.
This unique structure gives dental implants unparalleled durability and longevity. They are much more resistant to wear and heavy impacts than crowns, bridges, or dentures, and if the visible portion of the implant does become damaged, it can simply be unscrewed and replaced. With a modest amount of maintenance, dental implants can last for decades, or even the rest of your life.
Benefits Bone Health
There is another reason why dental implants are so durable. When the titanium implants are installed in your jawbone, your body responds by boosting growth factors in the surrounding bone. As a consequence, the jawbone around the implant becomes denser and stronger and will continue to strengthen for as long as the implant remains installed.
This jawbone strengthening helps avoid some of the disadvantages of long-term crown use. Many people use crowns to restore teeth with damaged roots, or teeth that have undergone root canal treatment and no longer contain living pulp. These damaged teeth do not stimulate the jawbone as much as healthy teeth and can cause the bone to shrink and atrophy.
Jawbone atrophy can noticeably affect your appearance, and may make your face appear sunken and hollow, especially if you have multiple damaged teeth. Atrophied jawbones are also more vulnerable to fracturing. The natural reinforcement created by a dental implant prevents both of these problems and can benefit your dental health and appearance for years to come.
High-quality dental crowns are convincing, but can still look noticeably fake under certain light conditions, especially if they are made from dental composites. This can be a particularly serious problem if you also suffer from receding gums, as shrinking gums can expose the fake base of the crown.
Because dental implants are installed deep within your jawbone, the replacement teeth attached to them emerge directly from the gumline, in the same way as natural teeth. Porcelain implant teeth also reflect light in the same way as tooth enamel, so they will look real no matter the time of day or night.