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How Long Do Crowns Last?

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Dental crowns have proven to be one of the most popular dental treatments that people undergo for a variety of reasons. You may choose them to cover a badly decayed tooth, enhance your smile, or restore a broken tooth. 

If your crown fits properly and is well taken care of, it might not need replacing for a while. On average, professionally fitted dental crowns can last between 5 to 15 years. But, if you really take good care of them, they can even last up to 30 years!

Various factors can affect the lifespan of dental crowns, including how you take care of them and the material they’re made of. If you’re considering a crown or have questions about their durability, booking a consultation with your dentist is the best starting point.  

Factors Affecting the Life of Dental Crowns

The longevity of dental crowns is determined by several factors, including the quality of the materials used, the skill level of the dentist, and how well you take care of them. 

  • Your crown’s lifespan can be affected by everyday wear and tear. The more you chew, bite, or grind, the quicker your crown might wear out.
  • The position of the crown in your mouth matters. If it’s at the back, where you do most of your chewing, it might not last as long.
  • The health of the original tooth and how well the crown fits can make a big difference. A healthy tooth and a well-fitted crown usually mean a longer lifespan.
  • The material of the crown plays a part in its lifespan, too. There are various materials available: porcelain, zirconia, gold, metal, and porcelain-fused-to-metal.
  • Don’t forget about oral hygiene! Regular brushing and flossing can help your crown last longer while neglecting your oral health might shorten its life.

Material Choices & Durability

Crowns are made from a variety of materials, each offering a different level of durability.

Metal crowns, often made of gold, are known for their durability. They’re less likely to chip or break and are quite gentle on your other teeth. However, they’re not the most aesthetically pleasing due to their gold colour, especially when it comes to front teeth.

Composite crowns, on the other hand, have a more natural appearance. While they’re less prone to chipping compared to porcelain crowns, they tend to wear down more quickly due to chewing. Regular tooth brushing can also remove their polished surface, making them more susceptible to staining.

Porcelain crowns offer the most natural look of all. However, they’re more brittle than metal or composite crowns and can chip more easily. For this reason, they’re typically not used for back teeth.

Lastly, there are porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns. These crowns combine the natural appearance of porcelain with the strength of metal, making them less likely to chip. However, if your gums are thin or recede, the underlying metal might become visible.

Your dentist is there to help you make the best choice for your crown. They’ll consider your individual needs and preferences, and guide you toward the material that suits you best.

Proper Maintenance for a Longer Lifespan

There are a few ways to prolong the life of your dental crown. The first and perhaps most important is maintaining good oral hygiene—regular brushing and flossing can greatly benefit not only your natural teeth but your crown as well.

Next, avoid certain habits that could potentially harm your crown. Actions such as grinding your teeth, biting hard objects, or using your teeth as tools should be avoided. 

Don’t overlook your routine dental checkups either. They aren’t just for addressing problems. Professional cleanings can help maintain your oral health and keep the crown in good condition. Aim to visit your dentist approximately every 6 months.

While dental crowns may not last indefinitely, with proper care and attention, their lifespan can certainly be extended significantly.

Signs Your Crown Needs Replacement

Even if you’ve been taking really good care of your dental crown, sometimes they just need to be replaced. The only way to tell if a crown needs to be replaced is through a clinical exam or a dental X-ray.

If decay is spotted, it’s time for that crown to be replaced. Also, if there are any gaps where the crown isn’t fitting properly on the tooth, or there’s a space between the crown and the tooth, it’s a sign the crown needs a change.

If the crown is cracked or there’s a gap between the crown and the teeth next to it that allows food and bacteria to build up, it’s a clear sign that the crown needs to be replaced.

Here are some warning signs that a crown may be getting close to its expiry date:

  • The tooth with the crown is causing pain. Most likely, tooth decay is the bad guy here. This means the crown needs to be taken out along with the decay underneath, and a new crown will be made and placed.
  • The crown feels unstable or seems to be moving. This can happen when chewing something sticky, like gum, caramel, or even bread.
  • The tooth with the crown is discoloured. Some people like to have whiter crowns, especially if the teeth next to it have been whitened. They might also want a different shape or look. And if a crown is chipped, someone may want to have it replaced.

It’s always best to check with your dentist if you’re unsure. They’ll be able to give you advice based on their professional experience.

A woman in an dentist's office shaking hands with her dentist

The durability of dental crowns is determined by the quality of materials, your dentist’s skills and care, and how well you take care of them. 

By adhering to proper maintenance practices and avoiding behaviours that may damage them, you can extend the lifespan of your crown and invest in your dental health for years to come. 

If you’re experiencing any signs your crown needs replacement or want to know more about their care, book an appointment at Palermo Village Dental.

Written by Dr. Christopher Blair

Dr. Christopher Blair completed his Doctor of Dental Surgery Degree at the University of Toronto. He is an avid cyclist and has often combined his passion for cycling with charitable endeavours. Most notably, Dr. Blair is passionate about his efforts to raise funds to support kids living with cancer and who are cancer survivors. Through his participation in Tour for Kids, Dr. Blair has raised thousands of dollars to support Camp Trillium, Camp Quality, and Camp Oochegeas, 3 camps in the Toronto area that support kids living with cancer.

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