Implant crowns are susceptible to wear and tear just like natural teeth, and sometimes they can become loose, ill-fitting, or break/chip. Often when I have a patient with implant crown issues, they ask me if it is possible to replace their implant crown, and if so, how complex and expensive it will be.
It is possible to replace a dental implant crown. To ensure perfect fit and function, the dentist may need to install a new abutment as well as a crown. Implant crowns can last 10-15 years, but you can replace them earlier due to wear and tear, cracks, chips, colour change or patient preference.
In this post, I go over why and when implant crowns can be replaced, the steps in replacing an implant crown, and how much dental implant crowns cost to replace, how long they last for and other important tidbits of information that you should know!
Replacing a dental implant crown; why, when to do, and steps!
Making crowns for implants has come a long way, especially in recent years. Crowns used to look much more like a white piece of chewing gum, with no real definition, poor colour matching, and poor fit that you would notice across a room.
Replacing a dental implant crown is a simple process, but do not rush into it. Make sure you have your expectations listened to and the health of the implant post assessed first, even if that means having a second opinion!
Implant posts should always be healthy and free of disease before changing an implant crown. The health of the gum tissue and bone surrounding the implant will effect the parameters chosen for the implant crown.
Although in certain circimstances, if the implant crown is negitively affecting the health of the implant, for example; excess cement. Excess cement can lead to implant failure, and changing the crown will need to be done ASAP.
Everything I recommend to my patients in order to keep their dental implant healthy and free of disease can be found here on my Bridge and Implant Care Resources page!
Implant crowns should be replaced if there is any damage to them, they are loose or if they have poor functionality in the mouth.
Implants that are loose need to be attended to immediately to determine if it is just the crown that is loose, or if the implant post inside the bone is loose.
If implant crowns are not replaced when they need to be, it can contribute to implant failure as they will be more susceptible to implant gum disease, and bone loss.
The steps to replacing a dental implant crown are as follows;
The steps to replace a dental implant starts with a consultation to discuss what the expectation is of the final product, and what means the most to you.. from colour matching to correct the shape.
The dental professional should listen to your wants and needs but also explain to you what will be needed to achieve proper function along with proper aesthetics. It is important to come to a solution that works best for your expectations, that also adheres to proper aesthetic and function.
Making the implant crown
After the consultation, and both parties agree to a plan of action, the real fun begins!
Impressions are taken, or the teeth are scanned (to make a 3D model) so they can perfect the look, and make sure it is compatible with your smile, and again, stays in line with the proper aesthetic and function. Pictures are taken as well to aid the implant crown fabricator to get the right colour, shade, shape and relationship to the teeth beside the implant.
The advancements for making crowns has come so far. CAD/CAM technology advancements in recent years are revolutionary, and it is a great option because you get your crown made in one sitting, and staining and colouring can be done much easier since the patient is in the chair.
Or the dental professional will have the implant crown made at a dental lab. The lab may require you to visit the lab so they can colour match it in person. Colour matching is a big deal for the front teeth in the mouth.
Most often the abutment will need to be replaced as well (the part that attaches the implant crown to the implant), and often depends on if the implant crown is attached to the abutment by a screw, or by cement.
Fitting/installing the implant crown
This step should be very straightforward as all of the hard work has already been done in constructing the new implant crown. Although, sometimes things can go wrong and the crown will need to be adjusted, or even sent back to the lab for colour correction or shape correction.
Please, if you are not happy with the look and fit of your implant crown, it is important to voice it to the dental professional. We do not know how it feels in your mouth, only you do. You are paying a lot of money for the crown, you want it to meet your wants and needs (that still adheres to proper function an aesthetic).
Us dental professionals should not take things personally if you do not like the colour or shape. Our job is not only to give you a perfect smile, but a smile that you find perfect as well. I always want my patients leaving the dental chair as happy as can be!
How much does it cost to replace a crown on an implant?
An implant crown costs between $1000 to $2000 to replace. The implant abutment costs $300 to $500 to replace. Often, the implant abutment will need to be replaced along with the implant crown to ensure proper fit, function and aesthetic.
How long does an implant crown last?
An implant crown can last from 10-15 years to a lifetime with proper care and maintenance. Wear and tear from clenching, grinding, and eating can shorten the lifespan of the dental implant crown.
The length of time that an implant crown can last is significantly longer than a crown on a natural tooth which is approximately 5 years.
The biggest threat to a normal crown on a natural tooth is decay occurring underneath, where the crown meets the tooth. When cavities (tooth decay) form underneath a dental crown, the entire crown needs to be taken off, the amount and severity of decay needs to be assessed, and a new crown will need to be made as long as there is enough tooth structure to adhere to.
How is a crown attached to a dental implant?
An implant crown is attached to the dental implant by an abutment. The abutment screws into the implant post and fits into the implant crown like a lock and key and is secured either by a screw or dental cement.
Depending on the location and circumstances of the implant placement, the dentist/oral surgeon placing it will decide which option is best for you be it either screw-retained or cement-retained.
Can dental implant crowns be removed?
Sometimes implant crowns need to be removed and a new one placed due to issues, but it can also be the patient’s choice. Especially the front teeth, if the colour, size and shape are not done well initially, the patient may want it changed to improve the appearance.
Can a crown on a dental implant come loose?
A crown can come loose on a dental implant for multiple reasons. Screw retained implants can become loose, and components can break. Implant crowns that are retained by cement can have similar issues when the cement loses retention to either the implant crown, or the implant abutment.
I really hope that this post has given you insight into implant crown replacement and all that is involved.
Have a great day!