As royal as the real deal.
An implant is a often the best way to replace a missing tooth. The process involves placing a titanium screw into the bone and then placing a fabricated tooth right on top of it. They look amazing and feel incredibly real. No one will ever know the difference.
Implants are significant because once you lose teeth, the bone in that region gradually reduces. 42% in the first year, actually. An implant is the only way you can preserve the bone in the region. The other obvious advantage is that you don't have to cut two perfectly good teeth, as you may do with a bridge. They can be flossed and cleaned like normal teeth, so are more hygienic and less prone to other complications.
Dental Crowns Protect teeth
The only reason to crown a tooth is if it is significantly weakened and is at risk of breaking.
The two biggest causes for weakened teeth are:
1. Root canal treatment
2. Cracks in teeth (often caused by metal fillings).
If any of these 2 situations exist, a crown is required to protect the tooth from sudden fracture.
A crack may pass undetected in the mouth for years. Thats why its important to have your teeth checked using transillumination lights that will detect any existing cracks in teeth. The thing about cracks is, its the ones that don't have any symptoms that can be treated to prevent a broken tooth.
It is not an uncommon scenario where you are out at lunch with some friends and you are chewing on some soft bread, like a sandwich and your faced with an embarassing broken tooth situation.
All root canal treated teeth need a Crown.
This is because the tooth is significantly weakened and is VERY prone to fracture. Its not uncommon for root canal treated teeth to just crumble while eating even soft foods, like bread.
After the roots have been filled, the tooth can now be prepared for a crown. Treatment is not complete without one and failure rates are high.
So what are crowns?
They are ceramic shells that are designed in a lab, specifically to fit and encase the existing natural tooth. The idea here is to replace the weekend enamel of the tooth with a strong ceramic shell so that the tooth is less susceptible to fracture. Its bit like changing the worn tyres on a car. The tyres get replaced, but the wheels stay the same. In teeth, the crown replaces the worn and weakened enamel, and the crown is fitted to the underlying dentine of the tooth. Essentially, they are enamel replacers.
The tooth is prepared and a mould is taken so that a crown can be custom fabricated to fit your mouth and bite. At the next visit, the crown is then cemented in for good. They look, feel and function like real teeth!
Examples of crown preparations
Before & After
Theres a 1 in 10 chance of teeth which haven't already had a root canal, requiring a root canal after a crown preparation. Every measure is taken to avoid this but sometimes, they are unavoidable.
Dental crowns still need to be kept clean like normal teeth and thus the same risks apply of tooth decay seeping in under the crown, leading to its failure.
How long do they last?
Dental crowns still need to be kept clean like normal teeth. Generally a 10-15 year life span is expected if they are cared for and maintained well.