Dental crown vs. dental implant

Update in January 31, 2024

crown vs. implant

Over time, your teeth can get damaged. This can happen for a variety of reasons, like tooth decay, injuries or just use over time. To have your tooth repaired there are two options: dental crown or dental implants. Dental crowns are tooth-shaped caps that can be placed over your tooth to repair broken or chipped tooth. Dental implant surgery is a procedure that replaces tooth roots with metal, screwlike posts and replaces damaged or missing teeth with prosthetic teeth that look and function much like real ones.

To choose between these two options it best to learn more about each procedure as well as their drawbacks, benefits.

Dental crowns

A crown, is just a replacement for the top part of the tooth which is visible in your mouth, rather than being a replacement option for the root too. A crown is also known as a cap because it acts as a cap to cover the tooth. Crowns are kept in place by being fixed to the remaining teeth surrounding the gap, which often means there is still a microscopic space. The microscopic space around the crown is potentially still vulnerable to decay and if you do suffer from cavities, we will most likely have to remove the crown so the decay can be treated.


Dental crowns


Dental implants

Unlike a crown, which when used alone is attached to a partial natural tooth, a dental implant, when completed, is essentially a replacement tooth. The implant is a metal post that serves as an artificial root for a tooth. In shape and size, it looks just like a standard metal screw, and it is implanted into your jawbone in much the same way. This post, by itself, isn’t the replacement tooth. It is the post that the replacement tooth is attached to. Once an implant is installed and the gum area has healed an abutment is attached to the top of the implant, and a crown is cemented to it. The crown is the part of the replacement tooth that is visible in your mouth.


Dental implants


Comparison between dental implant and dental crown

To make the best decision it’s best to understand the differences of dental implant and dental crown here are some key distinctions between them:

Dental implant recovery vs dental crown recovery

Getting a dental crown is usually a two-part process. The dentist prepares the tooth at the first appointment and places a temporary crown on it. During the next week or two, using impressions of the patient’s original tooth, the permanent crown is created in a lab. At a second appointment, the dentist affixes the permanent crown into place. The patient is usually back to normal eating after a few days of minor discomfort when soft foods are suggested.

Dental implant surgery, partly because it is more invasive, takes longer. After drilling and placing the post, sufficient time must pass for the bone to fuse to the implant which can take weeks. If bone grafts are necessary, it may even be months. During that time, a temporary crown sits on top of the implant. Later, the permanent crown is attached.

There are some risks with implant surgery that don’t usually come with the placement of crowns. First of all, there’s a risk of infection with surgery of any kind. Also, implant drilling must be precise. Another tooth is hit, or the surgeon could accidentally nick a nerve or blood vessel, or even puncture the sinus cavity. Although these cases are rare, it is something to consider if there is a choice between dental crowns vs. implants.

Dental crown value vs dental implant value 

The cost of dental crowns depends on the material used. The most expensive is gold, followed by stainless steel, porcelain, ceramic, and finally resin, which is the cheapest. When getting a dental implant, the patient must consider the cost of the post and abutment too.

In some cases, insurance may help pay for a crown or an implant. But in general, insurance companies view implants as cosmetic and won’t cover them. If a crown is part of a root canal procedure, it may have more of a chance for coverage. It is best to discuss any dental procedures with the dentist and the insurance company to find out how much might be an out-of-pocket cost.

It’s possible that a crown or an implant might need to be replaced at some point, but both offer a good value for the money. Back teeth typically see more wear and tear from chewing, so they will usually be the first to wear out. Crowns typically last from 5 to 15 years. Implants can last upwards of 25 years.

Dental implant vs dental crown – which is best for me?

Ideally, a dental implant is a more cost-effective solution in the long-term and offers a near- permanent fixture in the mouth lasting several decades or more with sound oral care. Do bear in mind, however, that any implant-based restoration will require at least one surgical procedure and even though modern dental implant procedures are both comfortable and entail reduced surgery time, you should expect to factor in a little recovery time also.

Alternatively, for those who don’t feel that a surgical procedure is right for them and are looking to simply provide protection for an existing tooth then you may want to opt instead for  a contemporary dental crown.

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