Modern dental implants were developed in Sweden in the 1960’s and started becoming a common treatment option in the 1990’s. And, today dental implants are considered an ideal treatment for the replacement of teeth that are missing or deteriorating. Depending on the number of teeth that need replacement, there are various implant options, but for a single missing tooth a single implant with a crown is usually considered the optimal treatment.
With this treatment option, after a tooth is extracted, gum tissues are pushed away creating space for an implant. Through a process known as osseointegration, a dental implant can fuse with the jawbone creating a stable foundation for a customized crown.
Placing of the dental crown is the final stage in dental implant procedures and happens after the abutment has been placed and after healing time has been allowed for gums to heal and for the jawbone to strengthen. This often takes 4-6 weeks, during which a temporary crown can be used to help with the initial healing stages. And, during this time the permanent crown is usually constructed in a lab by a dental technician. The technician is able to use impressions of a tooth (or teeth) to make a customized and natural looking artificial crown. This procedure usually happens in several phases and so often there are multiple appointments for a crown placement.
Prosthetic Crown Options
When deciding on prosthetic crown often patients work with dental experts to choose between fixed or removable prosthetics.
- Fixed Prosthetic Crowns: With a fixed crown there is a permanent attachment (screwed or bonded). The prosthetic is fixed onto an abutment, and so the new prosthetic tooth is not removable. Crown restoration and care while the crown is fixed on the implant is not uncommon since dental implants are quite strong. One implant can actually support multiple prosthetic teeth.
- Removable Prosthetic Crowns: As is the case with removable dentures, removable crowns can also be full or partial. With a removable prosthetic crown, the crown get mounted onto a fixture (usually metal) that connects to the abutment. This type of mechanism functions by snapping together, but is then removable for repair or general cleaning.
Hybrid prosthetic crowns do exist too, and this option can explored with a dentist.
After a customized crown is finished at the lab, a dentist will thoroughly check it. And before the crown gets cemented into place, the way the crown looks and fits will be thoroughly examined by the dentist, too to ensure that the new crown looks good and fits well with the surrounding teeth. Usually only a local anesthetic is needed to numb the general area. To bind the crown a cement is used, or sometimes a screw is used for attachment. After the crown is fixed in place any small adjustments to the shape and alignment of the crown can be made.
The end result is a natural looking an very functional prosthetic, and placing a crown is generally a straightforward procedure.