Dental crowns last on average between five and 15 years, depending on how well they are made and cared for. To extend the longevity of your crown, you should refrain from habits such as biting your nails or opening packages with your teeth. These can put excessive pressure on a crown and shorten its lifespan. Keep in mind that you must also keep the underlying tooth strong and healthy. If your tooth sustains recurrent decay, your crown may have to be removed and other forms of treatment may be necessary.
Daily wear can weaken a crown, and certain habits can accelerate the process. Your crown is more likely to sustain damage if you:
In addition, accidental trauma can cause a crown to chip or fracture.
While a crown is not susceptible to decay, the underlying tooth is. If bacteria and debris become trapped beneath the base of the crown, a cavity can develop. In this case, you may need to have the crown removed in order to undergo additional treatment.
Poorly manufactured crowns are more likely to break early on, which is why it is important to receive your crown from a reputable dentist. Your dentist should also ensure that your crown fits properly in your smile. Crowns are not designed to bear the brunt of your bite. If your bite force is not evenly distributed across your dental arch, your crown can sustain irreparable damage.
Crowns that are composed of porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) feature a metal base. Over time, the metal can begin to show through, causing the tooth to take on a dark hue. Some patients choose to replace metal restorations with those made of porcelain or zirconia for more aesthetically pleasing results.
One of the easiest ways to protect your crown is to practice good oral hygiene. You should brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily. Pay special attention to the bottom edge of the crown where the restoration meets the gum line. It is also important to schedule biannual cleanings and exams with your hygienist, who can remove plaque and tartar from hard-to-reach areas. During your visit, your dentist can also take the time to assess the health of your crown and the underlying tooth. If any signs of decay become apparent, your dentist can recommend treatment early on.
To avoid damage to your crown and your natural teeth, you should refrain from biting hard objects and tell your dentist if you suffer from bruxism. Often, devices such as retainers can protect your teeth from excessive wear and tear. While crowns are not designed to last forever, some can last 25 or 30 years if properly cared for. Should it be necessary, most insurance companies will pay for a replacement crown at the five-year-mark.