How Long Does A Dental Crown Last?

How Long Does A Dental Crown Last: Understanding Dental Crowns


A dental crown is a tooth-shaped that your dentist places over your damaged or disfigured tooth to protect and strengthen the tooth. By shielding the damaged tooth from external elements, dental crowns work as a protective shield for the tooth recover. Dental crowns, depending on the requirement, serve different purposes like:


  • Restoring a Broken Tooth: Crowns play an important role in strengthening the cracked, damaged or an almost-hollow tooth. It covers the entire portion of the tooth above the gumline so that no irritants can come near the affected part.
  • Protecting a Weak Tooth: A crown, post root canal treatment, is generally used as a reinforcing mechanisam to protect the remaining natural tooth structure. It can also be used incase of severe decay caused by cavity.
  • Covering a Dental Implant: Crowns help in securing a newly-placed dental implant into place and provide a natural touch to the artificial looking tooth.
  • Improving Appearance: Dental crowns play a major role in hiding your tooth’s flaws like chips, gaps, stains, etc to create a more pleasing smile.


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Some common types of dental crowns are:


  • Porcelain fused to metal crowns: A porcelain coating fused onto a metal shell. Very strong and durable.
  • All-ceramic or all-porcelain crowns: Made entirely of ceramic or porcelain material. More aesthetically pleasing.
  • Gold crowns: Prized for longevity, but not as natural-looking.
  • Resin or acrylic crowns: Less durable but inexpensive option suitable for temporary crowns.
  • Zirconia crowns: Very strong ceramic that resembles natural teeth. More fracture resistant.
  • Stainless steel crowns: Used for primary teeth and are prefabricated for a quick fix.


The crown type chosen depends on factors like location, durability needs, aesthetics, and cost. Dentists will recommend the most suitable crown material and type for each patient’s specific situation.


What Is The Average Lifespan of Dental Crowns?


The typical lifespan of a dental crown ranges from 5 to 15 years. However, many factors can affect how long a crown actually lasts.


Most dental crowns will last between 7 and 10 years with proper care. Porcelain fused to metal crowns tend to have the longest lifespan, often functioning well for 10-15 years. All-ceramic or all-porcelain crowns usually last 5-10 years. While durable, porcelain may chip or fracture over the long term.


The lifespan of a crown also depends on its location in the mouth. Crowns on molars or back teeth generally last longer than those on front teeth. Back teeth see less wear and tear from biting and chewing. Front crowns are more prone to chipping and fracturing, requiring earlier replacement.


Overall crown longevity can vary quite a bit based on your unique oral environment, habits, and care. Some crowns may even last 20 years or longer. However, it’s reasonable to expect most conventional crowns to need replacement at some point within 10-15 years.


What Factors Affect The Lifespan of Dental Crowns?


The lifespan of a dental crown depends on several key factors:


1. Crown Material and Manufacturing Quality


The material from which the crown is made plays a major role in determining its lastingness and endurance. Dental crowns made with porcelain and fused to metal, zirconia, and gold alloys last the longest amongst others. The longevity also depends on it’s manufacturing process as well. A well-manufactured crown will have better fit and will be less prone to defects compared to crowns with a manufactured poorly.

2. Oral Hygiene and Dental Care


Proper brushing, flossing, and professional cleanings help prevent decay around the crown margins. Poor oral hygiene leads to plaque buildup which causes inflammation and can undermine the integrity of the crown over time. Regular dental visits allow early detection of any issues.

3. Grinding and Clenching Habits


People who grind or clench their teeth, often during sleep, exert excessive biting forces on their crowns. This can accelerate wear, fracture the crown material, and loosen its fit. Using a custom nightguard helps protect crowns from damage.

4. Injury or Trauma


Major impacts, whether from an accident or hard foods like ice, can crack or dislodge crowns. Even normal biting forces over many years take a cumulative toll. Avoiding trauma and minimizing excessive biting pressure helps crowns last.


How To Maximize the Longevity of Your Dental Crown?


Taking proper care of your dental crown is key to making it last as long as possible. Here are some tips to help maximize the lifespan of your crown:


  • Practice good oral hygiene. Be diligent about brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once daily. When brushing, pay close attention to the area around your dental crown, removing any plaque buildup. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush gently to avoid damaging the crown.


  • Avoid hard or sticky foods. Foods that are crunchy, chewy, or sticky can dislodge or damage your dental crown. Avoid things like nuts, hard candies, caramel, popcorn kernels, and chewing on ice. If you do eat these foods, chew them carefully on the opposite side of your mouth from the crowned tooth.


  • Use a nightguard if recommended. If you grind or clench your teeth, your dentist may suggest wearing a custom nightguard to prevent excessive wear or stress on your dental crowns while you sleep. Nightguards help distribute the biting forces evenly to avoid cracked or damaged crowns.


  • Get regular dental cleanings and checkups. See your dentist every 6 months for professional cleanings and evaluations of your dental work. Your dentist can examine your crowns for any cracks, gaps, or issues that need to be addressed early on. Regular cleanings also help prevent damaging plaque and tartar buildup around your crowns.


Following these best practices for protecting and maintaining your dental crowns is crucial for extending their longevity. Taking steps to care for your crowns helps ensure they remain functional and intact for as many years as possible. Work closely with your dentist to monitor your crowns and address any problems promptly. With proper home care and routine dental visits, you can maximize the lifespan of your dental crowns.


When Do You Need To Replace Your Dental Crown?


Dental crowns typically last many years, but they aren’t indestructible. Over time, wear and tear, damage, or underlying issues can arise that may necessitate crown replacement. Here are some of the most common signs indicating your dental crown should be evaluated for replacement:


1. Cracking, Chipping, or Excessive Wear


Crowns are made to withstand normal biting and chewing forces. However, crowns can become weakened or damaged over the years, especially if subjected to heavy biting/grinding habits. Look for any cracks or fractures in the crown material. Also watch for areas of the crown that look chipped or worn. The edges of front crowns normally have a crisp, well-defined appearance when new. Excessive wear will cause the edges to look rounded or blunted.

2. Discoloration or Staining


While no dental restoration stays perfectly white forever, noticeable yellowing, darkening, or graying of a crown can indicate aging of the material. Stains from food, drinks, or smoking can also discolor crowns over time. The crown’s color should blend seamlessly with surrounding natural teeth. If the crown stands out as being much darker or brighter, replacement may improve the match.

3. Loosening or Falling Out


Crowns are held securely onto teeth with dental cement. However, the cement bond can deteriorate over many years of function. You may notice the crown wiggling slightly when you chew or bite. In worse cases, the crown can completely detach and fall off the tooth. Any loosening or detachment signals loss of crown retention, requiring replacement.

4. Decay or Infection Around the Crown


Although crowns fully cover the visible portion of the tooth, decay can still occur at the junction where the crown meets the tooth below the gumline. Signs like tooth sensitivity, bad odor, or gum swelling may indicate infection or decay under or around an old crown. Your dentist will need to thoroughly evaluate the tooth and surrounding bone support. Replacing the failing crown helps prevent further damage.


What Is The Crown Replacement Process?


When it’s time to replace a dental crown, the process involves a few key steps:


1. Removing the Old Crown


The dentist will first numb the area around the tooth with a local anesthetic. Once the tooth is numb, the dentist uses a dental drill to grind away at the cement holding the old crown in place. This loosens the crown so it can be removed easily with dental tools. The tooth is then cleaned thoroughly.


2. Tooth Reshaping


After the old crown is removed, the dentist may reshape or contour the tooth and may prove any decay or old dental work. The tooth is further filed down to create a clean and solid foundation for the replacement crown. This reshaping ensures a proper base for the new crown to fit.


3. Impressions and Shade Matching


The next step is shade matching. Your dentist will take impressions of the reshaped tooth using a paste or a putty. Using the impressions, a custom-fitted crown will be created which matches the shade of your natural teeth for a seamless appearance.


4. Temporary Crown Placement


A temporary acrylic or plastic crown is placed on the tooth to protect it while the permanent crown is being made. The temporary crown resembles the shape and color of your final crown. You’ll wear this crown for 1-2 weeks while waiting for the permanent one.

5. Fitting and Cementing the New Crown


At your next appointment, the dentist will remove the temporary crown, test fit the permanent crown, make any adjustments needed, then cement it in place. The tooth may be numbed again for this process. Your bite and the crown’s fit will be carefully checked before it is permanently cemented.


The crown replacement process requires precision and skill to ensure the new crown fits, looks, and functions properly. With a talented dentist, you’ll end up with a natural-looking dental crown that should last for many years to come.


Caring for Your New Dental Crown


Getting a new dental crown can be a big adjustment. Following your dentist’s post-procedure instructions and taking steps to properly care for your new crown will help ensure it lasts as long as possible.


1. Post-Procedure Care


Once you get your new crown, it is imperative to follow the care instructions for a long-lasting dental crown, such as:


  • Avoid chewing using the crowned tooth untill the numbness fully wears off to prevent accidental biting of the cheeks or tongue.
  • Follow the prescription religiously.
  • Avoid coloured, sticky, hard or chewy foods for min 24 hours to allow the cement to fully set.
  • Brush and floss gently around the new crown at first, then resuming normal oral hygiene once healed
  • Use mouthwash to keep the area clean while avoiding excessive force or abrasion
  • Contact your dentist if you experience ay form of discomfort.


2. Adjusting to Your New Crown


It can take some time to adjust to the feel of a new dental crown in your mouth. The crown may be slightly taller or bulkier than your natural tooth. Your bite alignment may also feel different.


This adjustment period is normal. Minor speech changes are also common at first. Within a few days of diligent oral hygiene and avoiding chewing on the crowned tooth, you should adapt. If issues persist beyond one week, contact your dentist to check the crown’s fit and contour.


3. Maintaining Good Oral Hygiene


Once your mouth is healed, be diligent about brushing and flossing around your dental crown daily. Plaque can still accumulate on crowns and lead to decay or gum disease. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, taking care not to scrub too aggressively.


Floss carefully under the crown to remove debris. See your dentist for regular cleanings and checkups to ensure your crown remains functional and decay-free. With proper home care and professional maintenance, your new dental crown can last many years.


Cost Considerations for Dental Crown Replacement


Replacing a dental crown can be a significant investment, with costs ranging anywhere from $800 to $3,000 per crown depending on various factors. The type of material used for the new crown is one major cost determinant, as noble and high-noble metals, all-porcelain, and zirconia crowns tend to be more expensive than base metal crowns. Your specific tooth location will also impact the price, with front teeth generally costing more to restore than back teeth.


When to Consider Dental Crown Alternatives


While dental crowns are a common and effective restoration option, there are some situations where an alternative treatment may be preferable:


1. Dental Implants


If the tooth underneath the crown has significant structural damage or decay, it may be better to extract the tooth and replace it with a dental implant. Implants involve surgically placing a titanium post in the jawbone that acts as an artificial tooth root. A crown is then placed on top of the implant. Implants can provide a more durable and stable solution when the natural tooth root is no longer viable.

2. Dental Bridges


If multiple teeth need restoration, bridges may be an alternative to having multiple individual crowns placed. Bridges span the gap created by one or more missing teeth. The bridge is anchored on either side by crowns placed on the adjacent natural teeth, with false teeth fused between the crowns to replace the missing ones. Bridges can restore chewing function and aesthetics without requiring dental implants.


Frequently Asked Questions About Dental Crowns


Q: Do dental crowns look natural?

A: With modern materials like porcelain fused to metal or zirconia, dental crowns can be created to match the color and shape of your natural teeth very closely. Unless you tell them, most people won’t be able to notice you have a dental crown.


Q: Is getting a crown painful?

A: The process of preparing the tooth for a crown involves some removal of enamel, which can cause some sensitivity. However, your dentist will numb the area being worked on so you shouldn’t feel pain during the procedure. Some mild discomfort is normal afterwards as the area heals.


Q: How long does it take to get a crown?

A: It usually takes 2-3 dental appointments over 3-6 weeks to complete the dental crown process. The first visit is for preparing the tooth, taking impressions, and placing a temporary crown. The laboratory then creates the permanent crown which is placed at the second visit.


Q: Can you eat normally with a dental crown?

A: Yes, you should be able to eat normally with a properly placed dental crown. The crown is designed to act just like your natural tooth. However, avoid sticky, hard or crunchy foods which could damage the crown.


Q: Do I still need a root canal if I get a crown?

A: It depends. If the inner pulp tissue of your tooth is healthy, you may just need a crown without a root canal. But if the pulp is infected or inflamed, a root canal treatment will be necessary before placing a crown.


Q: Do crowns fall out?

A: With proper placement and dental care, crowns should not simply fall out. However, dental crowns may become loose over time due to decay, damage, or improper fitting. Let your dentist know immediately if your crown becomes loose so it can be re-cemented or replaced.


Q: How long do temporary crowns last?

A: Temporary crowns are meant to last about 2-3 weeks. They protect your tooth after the initial crown prep appointment until you receive your permanent crown. Avoid sticky foods and maintain proper oral hygiene while wearing a temporary crown.


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