Dental Implant Crowns

Dental Crown and a Dental Implant Crown

Several patients have asked what the difference between a normal dental crown (many years ago referred to as a ‘cap’) and a dental implant crown is. The root structure of a natural tooth provides support for a traditional dental crown. It is often recommended when a significant amount of natural tooth structure is missing due to decay or damage. 

To restore the tooth, our dental specialists at Dental RI remove about a finger-nail thickness from the tooth using a dental drill, take an impression or digital scan and send it to a dental lab for fabrication of the crown. Our detail-oriented technician will use the information we provide to customize the color, shape, and size so that the new restoration appears natural and functions appropriately. To finalize the process the crown is then tried in or ‘fitted’ over the remaining portion of the tooth. When the fit and color meet both our patient and doctor’s expectations it is permanently bonded with a special dental adhesive material.

Are dental implants and crowns the same thing?

It is often recommended to plan a dental implant treatment when a natural tooth is congenitally missing or needs to be removed due to decay or injury. A dental implant replaces the root of a missing tooth and becomes the support system for the new tooth. A mold of the implant is taken once the implant is in place and ready for restoration. To complete the restoration of the implant, a dental implant crown will be fabricated. Because a dental implant ends at the gum line, and there is no longer any tooth structure to fill the center of the dental implant crown, our technician will use this mold to make the abutment, also called a connector.

In most cases, a strong material, such as Zirconia or titanium, will be used to attach the dental implant to the new crown. By ingenious design, the abutment is held in place by a screw that goes through a small hole in the center of the abutment, combining the two components – the implant and the abutment. The abutment is designed to provide sufficient strength to support the implant and to support the forces exerted by one’s bite.

Most of the time, our dentists at Dental RI fabricate the dental implant crown with the abutment as described above, but certain situations dictate an alternative method. In a screw-retained implant crown, a screw passes through the crown directly into the dental implant (without an abutment) and allows the dentist to remove the crown for cleaning.

In what ways are crowns and dental implants held in place?

Permanent cement is used to secure and bond a crown in place. Unless it is screw-retained, we bond the crown to the abutment using the same material as we use for a traditional crown. It is the simplest technique and has fewer chances for bacteria to get under the implant crown.

What Are The Best Ways To Take Care Of Your Dental Implant Crown?

Implant crowns often have their edges going slightly below the gum line, just like crowns placed on natural teeth. In order to keep the new restoration and the surrounding tissue healthy, we ask patients to maintain a good home healthcare routine. This includes brushing, flossing, and regular visits to the dental hygienist. 

An oral irrigator is also an excellent tool for keeping the area clean and free of bacteria. At Dental RI, every patient receives personalized instructions as they go through their treatment. To ensure our patients smile with confidence and chew with comfort for years to come, we are always available to provide guidance and answer any questions.