How Do Dental Crowns Attach to Implants?
Dental crowns can replace a missing tooth when they are anchored by a dental implant. Such a setup is known as an implant supported crown. With the dental implant embedded in the jaw and the crown seated above the gumline, how do these components of an artificial tooth connect? There are two main ways that dental crowns attach to implants. The first way is with the use of screws. The second is by cementing the crown onto the abutment that connects to the implant. Is one way better than the other?
The components of an artificial tooth
An implant-supported crown is made up of three parts. The first is the dental implant, which embeds in the jaw. The second is an abutment, which connects to the implant on the lower end and the crown on the upper end. The third part is the crown, which attaches to the upper end of the abutment. The crown attaches to the implant through the abutment. It can attach to the abutment with screws or dental cement. Each method has its uses, benefits and drawbacks.
Attaching dental crowns with oral cement
A dentist could choose to attach the crown to the abutment with dental cement. This is usually done on front-facing teeth for aesthetic purposes. Dental cement is tooth-colored, meaning that a front-facing dental crown attached with dental cement will not have the discoloration that happens with screw-retained crowns. However, there are several downsides of cementing a dental crown onto an implant.
Drawbacks of attaching a crown to a dental implant with cement
Any dental restoration that is held in place with dental cement is expected to stay in place forever. It is not meant to be removed. The thing is, however, that implant-supported crowns may need a tune-up at some point. The tune-up would typically involve detaching the crown, which is difficult when it is cemented onto the implant. Removing such a dental crown is difficult and will almost always involve breaking the crown apart. In the end, the dentist will likely have to replace the old crown altogether.
Screw-retained dental crown
Some dental crowns can be directly screwed onto an abutment. In terms of longevity, ease of use and ease of repair, attaching dental crowns with screws is simply a better way of doing things. The main drawback of screws is that they are less good looking than dental cement, which is why they are mostly used on the back teeth.
The benefits and uses of screw-retained dental crowns
- It is safer to attach same-day, implant-supported crowns with screws
- Crowns that are screwed onto an implant are easy to remove during repairs
- When neighboring teeth fall out, a crown attached with screws can be replaced with one that will anchor a bridge
Temporary dental crowns are used to prepare the gum tissue for the permanent crown. These types of crowns are screw retained and are easy to remove when the time comes to place the permanent crown.
In the end, a dentist will help you make the right call
How a dentist chooses to attach a crown to a dental implant will depend on a patient’s individual situation and preferences. The dentist will take you through the options and explain the benefits and drawbacks of each of them. Call or visit us to find out more about getting dental implants to replace damaged or missing teeth.
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