The combination of a dental implant and crown are often used as a replacement option for patients who are missing a single tooth. Other solutions, such as an implant supported bridge or an implant supported denture may be better suited for patients who are missing multiple teeth. However, it is possible to use individual dental implants and crowns for replacing numerous missing teeth.
The placement of a dental crown is the last stage of the dental implant procedure. Once the implants are completely integrated with the bone, the dentist schedules a follow-up surgery to expose the top of the implant. A collar is then placed over the implant to ensure the gums properly heal. Once healed, the collar is removed and the abutment is placed. Impressions of the abutment are taken for the creation of the dental crown.
Dental Crown Placement
Once the abutment is secured to the implant, the dentist places a temporary crown. In some cases, the healing collar is not required and the abutment and temporary crown are immediately placed.
The temporary crown will stay in place for four to six weeks. The gum heals around the crown for a natural appearance. While the temporary crown is not as strong as the permanent crown, it helps protect the implant while the permanent crown is created.
Once the temporary crown is placed, the permanent dental crown is created in a dental lab. The process for producing the permanent crown can take a few weeks or less. The lab technician will use teeth impressions to create an accurate and natural-looking artificial crown. As a result, multiple appointments may be required for the placement of the crown.
Prosthetic Crown Selection
The dentist will work with patients to determine which type of prosthetic crown solution is idea. Prosthetic crown options include removable, fixed or hybrid prosthetics.
- Removable prosthetics: this option is equivalent to a regular removable denture and may be full or partial. The dental crown is enclosed at the base using a gum-like plastic. It is mounted to a metal platform which is connected to the implant abutment. The mechanisms securely snap together but can be removed as needed for repair or to clean.
- Fixed prosthetics: when a fixed prosthetic is used, the dental crown is permanently bonded or screwed to the single implant abutment. Once placed, the tooth cannot be removed. Because implants are strong and secure, it is possible for the implant to support multiple teeth if they are connected.
Once the crown is created by the dental lab, the dentist confirms that the crown was properly created. This evaluation includes evaluating the size, fit and appearance of the crown. The crown will also be compared to the existing natural teeth prior to cementing it in place.
Local anesthesia is used to numb the area during the crown placement. Dentists use dental cement to bind the crown on the tooth. When needed, minor adjustments can be made to the shape of the crown, this is especially when the teeth do not properly align.
Once the dental crown is cemented or screwed into place on the implant, the prosthetic tooth appears and functions just as the natural tooth would. The procedure for placing a crown is simple and typically requires one or two visits to the dentist.