Every person wants to have a perfect smile where they do not feel embarrassed or cover their mouth when smiling. When teeth are missing or damaged, a person can be self-conscious, and their esteem takes a hit. Fortunately, it is possible to replace damaged or missing teeth through dental implants. After installing a dental implant, an implant crown is fixed to finish replacing the tooth. Crown implants are custom made to match the shape and color of your other teeth to give you the most natural look. If you have missing teeth, you can have a more natural replacement by opting to get dental implant crowns. However, choosing an experienced dentist is essential for the replacement. At Encino Dentist Implant, we are able to replace your missing teeth and give you your confident smile back.

Overview of Dental Implant Crowns

Dentists have used dental implant crowns to replace missing teeth from the 1960s. Although previously not widely used, in recent years, the practice has gained popularity. A variety of materials is used to make dental crowns. These include ceramics, gold, porcelain, metal alloys, and silver. For patients that prefer a more natural look, porcelain or ceramics are the better choices, while most long-lasting crowns are made from gold.

Aside from the materials used in making a crown, how it is fitted to the implant creates a significant difference. Cement and screw-retained crowns are the most popular for implants.

Cement Retained Crown Implants

These types of crowns are fixed over the abutment. To ensure the prosthetic is permanently fixed to the abutment, the dentist will use dental cement. These kinds of crowns give better visual beauty and are straightforward to attach.

Screw Retained Crown Implants

These kinds of crown implants have an occlusal or lingual screw to them. The crown has a hole on the lingual or occlusal side to enable attachment to the fixation screw. This makes it much easier when there is a need to repair, clean, or restore the crown.

Why Choose Dental Implant Crowns

Having dental crown implants has significant advantages over regular crowns, dentures, and bridges. These advantages include:

  • Dental implant crowns have a natural feel and look. It is difficult for a person to know another has implants because they blend in just like natural teeth.
  • Like natural teeth, dental crown implants function in the same manner. One can comfortably eat with them, clean, and talk with implants.
  • The adjacent teeth to the replaced one do not need filing nor act as a support to the replacing tooth. This means they will not need fillings in their roots. An implant, in this case, comes with its support.
  • With an installed implant, the bone structure underneath is maintained. When a person chews, the implants transmit force to the underlying bone. This stimulates the natural way of bone renewal, helping preserve the excellent look of the replaced teeth and facial structure.
  • With dental crown implants, they help removable dentures to have a firm hold
  • As compared to dentures, one does not need to use dental glue to hold teeth in position.
  • They provide a more permanent solution that stays put
  • The implants prevent the natural teeth from shifting to the gap
  • Just as one cleans their natural teeth, the implants are cleaned the same way.

The Difference Between Dental Crowns and Dental Implant Crowns

Before a patient decides on the crown to have, knowing the difference between the traditional one and the implant crown is essential. The standard dental crown, commonly referred to as the cap, finds its support from the natural root structure of a tooth. When a substantial part of the tooth is not healthy because of decay or disease, it is recommended for replacing it.

To restore the damaged tooth with a traditional crown, a dentist will take out the spoilt portion and shape the structure of the tooth remaining. Afterward, an impression of the tooth is taken. Or a scan that is taken to the lab to fabricate a crown. The lab works to maintain the natural look of the tooth in color, size, and shape. Once the crown is ready, it is fitted on the remaining part of the tooth. Once it is properly fitted, and the patient is satisfied with the color and fit, a permanent bond is done. With the use of specialized dental adhesives, the crown is permanently bonded to the remaining tooth.

A dental implant, on the other hand, is used to replace a missing tooth. For a dental implant, there should not be a portion of the tooth remaining as opposed to the traditional crown. If a tooth is decayed or damaged, to get an implant, the tooth must be extracted in totality. An implant is then fitted to the underlying bone that becomes the support of the new tooth taking the place of the root. After the implant has been successfully fitted, a mold of the tooth is taken.

From the mold, a dental implant crown is made to complete the process. This kind of implant means there is no portion of the tooth remaining to fill the middle of the crown. To replace this, technicians, by using the mold, create an abutment or connector. This portion is typically made from ceramic known as titanium or zirconia is what is used to tie the crown to the dental implant.

By use of a screw, the abutment is held in position by joining together the implant and the crown. The abutment provides strength in supporting the implant to withstand the force of taking bites.

Who Qualifies for a Dental Crown Implant?

Almost anyone qualifies or is suitable to have dental implants. When a person has lost a tooth or more and wishes to restore how they look and their ability to chew, they can use implants. However, it is essential to note that implants are only used to people that are 18 years or older. This is because the implant is fixed on the patient’s jawbone, making it crucial for the bones to be developed fully.

For one to be considered for an implant, the health of your mouth must be good. One should not have any gum disease or tooth decay that is not treated; if a person is suffering from periodontitis or gum disease, the disease can spread to the dental implant as well. When this spread happens, you may lose your implant due to the disease.

The dentist must also ensure you maintain high dental hygiene before commencing treatment. This is because for the implants to succeed and last long, a patient must be able to prevent the accumulation of plaque. Once the treatment is done, a patient must make periodic appointments to check the implants and, in the event of any issues, address them earlier than later.

Once a patient meets all the requirements above, the periodontist will discuss various options for treatment. The treatment picked depends on multiple factors such as the health of the patient, the position and number of missing teeth, and the quality of the patient’s bone tissue.

When is an Implant not Suitable

When a patient’s jaw bone lacks the desired thickness to accommodate an implant, the grafting of bones is impossible. Individuals that are suffering from gum disease are not suitable candidates for dental implants. People with diabetes also do not make good candidates for a dental crown implant due to poor healing.

Other medical conditions can also rule out the use of implants by a patient. A person with a blood clotting disorder, done disease, weak immune system, drug abuse, or chronic systemic illness will not qualify. Smokers also are taken into consideration due to the challenge of healing as compared to nonsmokers, and their implants can be subjected to loosening. If one is a smoker, stopping the habit can significantly increase their chances of a successful crown implant.

How it Works

There are several components of a restored implant tooth. These are:

  • The implant – it is typically made from titanium and placed on the jawbone where the tooth used to be.
  • The abutment – this is made from a variety of materials. Gold, porcelain, or titanium are commonly used. The abutment is fixed on the implant by the use of a screw. The abutment is the part that joins the crown to the implant and takes the shape of a tooth. The crown implant is placed on top of the abutment.
  • The restoration – the crown is that part that resembles a tooth. It is typically made from a mixture of porcelain and metal alloy. It can also be purely made of porcelain or metal. It is then fixed on the abutment by cementing or by use of a screw. If a screw is used, the hole is covered using restorative material that is in the same color as the tooth.

The Crown Implants Process

Many factors determine the time taken to complete a crown and an implant. If a dentist uses the traditional procedure, the least time is taken in completing the implant. If on the bottom jaw, the process takes five months, but six months for the upper jaw. The process includes the required surgical procedure as well as the placement of the crown. However, it is also possible for the process to take one year or over, especially when there is a need to build the bone.

There is another technique where both the implants and the caps are fixed simultaneously. When the dentist needs to use mini implants, they are placed together with the crown, denture, or bridge during a single visit.

However, when the old method is used, two procedures will be required. These procedures are carried out with a period of three and six months from each other. In the initial procedure, a cut is made on the gum to place the implant. Next, a hole is created where the dentist places the implant and stitches the incision.

As the healing window comes to an end, another procedure is conducted. This is the making of an incision where the implant is exposed. A healing collar or cap is then screwed on the implant, which helps the healing of the surrounding tissues and gums. After some weeks, the cap is taken out. The dentist then screws in the abutment onto the implant, which is used in supporting the crown.

The Consultation

Before the commencement of any work, a patient requires to visit a dentist or a prosthodontist who has extensive experience in restoring and placing implants. The dentist does a comprehensive evaluation of the patient. A medical review is carried out as well as your dental history. X-rays will be taken and the creation of your teeth’s impression and gum for making models done as well.

Depending on the situation, a dentist may request a computed tomography commonly known as a CT scan of the patient’s mouth. A scan is essential in helping determine the available jawbone that can be used to keep the implants well positioned. The scan also shows where the sinuses and nerves are located in relation to the teeth to avoid damaging them during surgery.

Should the X-ray show you do not have sufficient bone in your jaw to support an implant, your dentist can suggest various methods the bone can be built. One of the methods is bone distraction or grafting. In bone grafting, a bone is harvested from another place and fixed onto your jaw. The bone used in grafting may come from your hip, chin, or mouth. Bones from animals such as pigs and cows can also be used if processed.

The other method would be the use of synthetic material to add to the support. Some of the materials used are calcium phosphate or hydroxyapatite. Another method is that of bone distraction. This is surgically carried out at the place where the extra bone is required. The procedure allows for more bone to grow by pulling the existing one apart by the use of screws and pins. If a patient needs any of the procedures, it typically takes between four and twelve months to get the bone ready to receive implants.

The First Surgery for Placing an Implant

If you have sufficient bone to allow for an implant, the patient schedules the initial procedure that involves putting the implants in the jaw. A periodontist or dentist performs the procedure by the use of a surgical guide. This guide is placed on the existing teeth, going all the way to where there are no teeth. This helps to indicate where to place the implants.

A root-form implant is the most preferred kind, which is meant to work as the tooth’s root. Space, where the tooth is missing, is where the implant is placed. After the initial surgery, a period of between four and five months is given for healing on the bottom jaw or six to seven months in the upper jaw. The healing process also allows for the infusion of the implant and the bone.

The Second Surgery – Placing of a Temporary Crown or Healing Crown

After the implants are infused to the jawbone, your periodontist will check to see if it is suitable for the next surgery through an X-ray. This is a more straightforward surgery compared to the initial surgery. Here, a cut is done to show the implant heads. At this stage, a healing or temporary crown is put on the implant. This acts as a guide to the tissues of gum for proper healing.

The collar or healing cap is a metallic round piece that is used to hold the gum from the implant’s head. This cap is held in position for between ten and fourteen days. Once the surrounding tissue heals, the healing cap is removed, and an abutment is attached to the implant. A final mold of the abutment is taken for every missing tooth and made.

The implant is attached to the abutment as well as the temporary crown. The abutment using a screw is fixed on the implant tightly to avoid it loosening up. After, the temporary crown is now fitted. Depending on the circumstances, a patient can have the temporary crown and abutment fitted together on the second procedure. This means that the period a healing collar or cap is placed is eliminated.

A temporary crown is put in position for between four and six weeks. The gum heals around the crown, looking like natural teeth. The material used to make a temporary crown is softer than that of a permanent crown. This material helps in protecting the implant against pressure and allowing the jawbone to strengthen.

Placing the Permanent Implant Crown

As the patient is using the temporary crown, a permanent crown is made. The crown may take a few weeks to be made. When the temporary crown is removed, the permanent one is fixed onto the implant. This is done either through cementing or screwing onto the abutment.

Cemented crowns often look more appealing because no holes are visible. However, in case of an issue, crowns that are screwed are easier to remove and correct the problem.

Taking Care of your Crown Implants

Just like your natural teeth, your dental implants are taken care of in a similar way. Brushing and flossing on a daily basis is essential. Should you experience any problems, you can make an appointment with your dentist for a checkup.

Probable Complications

Aside from the typical surgery risks, implants can also fail. Although rare, an infection can develop that may cause an implant to fail. Sometimes a bite, if not well adjusted, can also cause a failure of an implant. If a patient has a habit of clenching and grinding their teeth, excessive pressure can be put on the implant, causing loss of bone and the breaking of the implant.

When replacing teeth on the lower jaw, there can be an injury of the nerve, especially during the drilling of a hole. Damage to the nerves can result in tingling sensation or numbness. When this happens, the lower lip, portion of the tongue, or chin can be affected. However, numbness or tingling feeling can disappear once the nerves heal, although in some cases, the damage is permanent.

If the teeth replacement is on the upper jaw, a possibility of drilling into the sinuses arises. This can also lead to an infection. For surgical errors to be avoided, a dentist will take specialized X-rays before commencing surgery. The X-rays are able to show where the sinuses or nerves are located and avoid damaging them.

What is Expected of Your Dental Implant Crowns

Most dental crown implants will look and work like natural teeth. Unfortunately, this is not so for every patient fitted with the implants. Some may not have their implants placed in a straight manner due to your bone structure and the available bone and the bone needed to fit the implant properly. The crown can also be created fuller to cover any spaces between the teeth.

Dental implants are an ideal way to replace lost or missing teeth. Although the process may take longer, the benefits are worth the wait for patients. Once taken care of, the crowns can last up to 25 years.

Caring for Your Dental Crown Implants

Despite the few cases of dental implant failures, a lot of the implants are, however, successful. One can, however, take more care of the implants to ensure they last and serve them better. Some of the things one should do include:

  • Practicing excellent dental hygiene – ensure you brush your teeth twice daily and floss as well. Use interdental brushes or brushes that quickly get between the teeth and clean difficult to reach places surrounding the implant.
  • Stop smoking – as earlier indicated, the bone base can be weakened by smoking. If your jawbone weakens due to cigarette smoking, your implant can get loose and fail.
  • Regular visits to your dentist – visiting your dentist often can help identify any problem before it gets severe and handle it. Proper cleaning of your teeth by your dentist also helps prevent the buildup of plaque that is an enemy of teeth and gums.
  • Do not chew hard things – hard things can break your crown or your other teeth. Avoid chewing on these things to enable your implants and crowns to last longer.

Finding a Dentist Near Me

A smile can increase a person’s self-esteem just as well as bad or missing teeth can damage it. Getting your smile back by replacing them with implants is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Maintaining good oral hygiene is also essential to prevent losing teeth or decay. Before you get dental implants, it is vital to ensure the dentist you choose can give you the best treatment. At Encino Dentist Implant, we have experience in dental implant crowns and would gladly help you get your smile back. Call us for a consultation or appointment at 818-810-7535 and let us take care of your teeth.