Is There Any Difference Between a Regular Crown and an Implant Crown?

Question:

Nancy asks:
I really need to understand what the difference is between a dental crown and a crown that is "a prosthetic device used in conjunction with an implant". Are they not constructed with the same material, and are not the same methods used to make one as the other? It seems to me that the only difference is how the crown is anchored in the mouth. While I can fully understand a dental insurance company not covering the surgical procedure for the implant, it is beyond me why the "dental device" is not covered. Can you help explain the difference between a regular crown and a crown on an implant? Thanks!

Answer:
Answered by: Dr. Scott Ganz

Fort Lee, NJ

Hi Nancy,

Unfortunately we live in a time where we are faced with the bureaucracy of the insurance companies. Dental insurance was never designed to pay for major reconstructions and specifically dental implants. The insurance benefits are usually low, or non-existent. Therefore you should not rely on your dental insurance to cover the cost of these procedures.

You are asking questions which relates to the dental insurance company’s interpretation of the procedures that we as dentist provide, as they need to establish a specific "coding" for each procedure that we do and associate a fee and a reimbursement percentage.

Therefore, there is really no functional or material different between a crown fabricated for an implant, or a crown fabricated for a natural tooth. Of course the process can be different depending upon the type of implant, and the "abutment" used – the part which connects the implant (in the bone) to the tooth crown sitting above the gumline.

I agree with you that the "crown" on the implant should be a covered expense – and at least, the insurance company should offer an "alternative benefi"” for the service that your dentist is providing. If they do not, you should raise this issue with the carrier, and perhaps the dentist can describe the procedure to have them re-consider the benefits for you.



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