With a freshly fitted dental crown, you walk out of the dentist’s office satisfied and perhaps slightly loopy from the anesthetic. Thanks to the crown, your newly restored tooth can now function normally and look good while doing it. However, it will take some time for the tooth and gums to recover from the procedure.…
How Long Do Dental Crowns Last?
If it feels like dental crowns are a long-term investment, it's because they are. When you go to the dentist, your goal is not to invest in a dental restoration that will need a touch up every year or two.
Understanding dental crowns
So, how long do crowns really last? There is no simple way to answer the question except to say that it depends on a few factors, such as:
1. The material they are made of
Some materials used to make dental crowns are stronger than others. Crowns made of gold alloys and base metals can last upwards of 30 years. In fact, they can last a lifetime with good oral hygiene. As can porcelain crowns with a zirconia base.
Porcelain crowns with a metal base can last for more than ten years. Crowns made of pure porcelain can last between five and fifteen years. The same goes for crowns made of dental resin.
However, these numbers are not set in stone. If neglected, gold crowns can fall off in a year or two, and with painstaking care, a porcelain crown can last decades. It all depends on a person’s oral habits.
2. How well they are cared for
In reality, a crown is only as stable as the tooth, gums and jaw it sits on. Which means for the crown to last long, the teeth, gums and jaws must remain healthy. This requires a person to maintain good dental hygiene and a healthy diet. A person must also have their teeth, gums and dental restorations examined by a dentist twice a year. Failure to observe good oral habits could cause tooth decay and gum disease, which may, in turn, cause the dental crown to come off.
3. The state of the underlying teeth
A tooth that has a history of tooth decay is more likely to get an infection in the future. If this happens to the restored tooth, the crown will have to be removed. A badly damaged tooth will have a limited outer structure for the crown to attach to. The less surface area that the crown has to hold on to, the more easily the crown can come off.
4. How well the crown was fabricated and fitted
The quality of the crown determines how well it holds up under the strain of chewing. How well the crown is fitted also determines whether or not it will come loose. The dentist’s workmanship determines whether or not the crown will cause problems like malocclusion or injury to the adjacent teeth or gums.
What to do when a dental crown breaks or comes loose
A loose or broken crown can cause injury to the tooth it sits on. It can also lead to the tooth’s decay. As soon as a person realizes that there is a problem with their crown, they should make an appointment to see the dentist as soon as possible.
In the meantime, a person should use over-the-counter dental adhesives to hold a loose crown in place. If the crown is broken, the patient should cover the hole with over-the-counter dental sealant.
How to take care of a dental crown to make it last
There are simple things that can be done to keep a dental crown in good condition:
- Brush and floss twice a day to keep the underlying and adjacent teeth healthy
- Go for routine dental checkups so that the dentist can confirm that the restorations are in good shape
- Avoid biting down on hard things that could crack, break or loosen the crown
- Avoid injury to the mouth that could crack, break or loosen the crown
- Avoid harmful foods that could lead to tooth decay
Dental crowns can last a lifetime
All dental crowns need is proper care and attention to stay in mint condition. That means cleaning your teeth properly, eating right and going for routine dental checkups so that the dentist can keep tabs on your dental crowns.
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