Crowns and dental implants are two tools in the dental toolbox that are suitable for repairing heavily damaged or missing teeth. A crown is a tooth restoration, like a filling, inlay, or onlay. However, it is different from fillings, inlays and onlays in that it covers the entire top of the tooth. Dental crowns are named for the part of the tooth that they repair — the crown.

Tooth diagram with crown and root labeled. Helps explain dental implantsDental Crowns

A crown is appropriate when the crown of the tooth is decayed or damaged, but the root of the tooth is still strong. To place a crown, first Dr. Abeyta will prepare the tooth. In the case of a decayed tooth, the decayed bone matter will have to be removed. Then, Dr. Abeyta will shape the tooth so that the crown can be bonded to it in the strongest possible fashion. Generally speaking, the crown will have to be made in a dental lab, and Dr. Abeyta will place it in your mouth during a second visit. Dr. Abeyta will make a temporary crown for you to wear while you wait for the lab to finish your permanent crown.

illustration of a dental implantDental Implants

In the case of missing teeth, or when the root system is too decayed to serve as an adequate anchor for a crown, a dental implant may be used. Dental implants are anchors, typically made of titanium, that are surgically implanted into the jawbone. Titanium is used because of its capacity for osseointegration. This means that human bone can bond directly to the surface of the implant. While this is what provides dental implants with their stability, it also adds a complication to the placement process. Once the implants are placed in the jaw, they must be allowed a few months to rest before anything is attached to them. This gives your jaw bone a chance to grow around and bond to the surface of the implant. Once this is done, a crown will be secured to the titanium implant to restore normal function and appearance of the tooth.

Dental crowns and implants are serious procedures with the ability to repair serious damage and decay. If you need an implant or crown, you’re going to be living with the results for decades, possibly the rest of your life. Dr. Abeyta’s work is second to none. She will leave you not only with a functional bite, but also a fantastic smile. When performed by a high-end dentist like Dr. Abeyta, dental crowns and implants are almost indistinguishable from natural teeth.