How Long Does A Dental Crown Last? & Make Them Last Longer

dental crown

How long do dental crowns last? Sometimes called "caps", dental crowns are used to protect and restore teeth that have been damaged or are decayed to a point where fillings are no longer an option. A crown covers the entire tooth, protecting it from future damage and allowing it to look and feel as natural as possible. But if you don't care for them properly, crowns can fail. They aren't resistant against cavities or gum disease. The good news is that with good oral hygiene and dental crown care (including flossing every day) you can help your new crown last for several years to come.

How Long Does A Dental Crown Last?

The average life span of a dental crown is about 10 years. At least a minimum of 5 years is to be expected, but they can last for 25 years or longer if you have the right dental crown care routine.  However, it’s important to note that there are many factors that affect how long your dental crown will last. Such as your diet, how often you're flossing, and the type of dental crown that your dentist uses.

For example, temporary crowns that are usually made out of a composite material or stainless steel won't last very long. Even eating and chewing on them can pull the crown off or cause it to fracture. But if you have a higher quality zirconia crown, it will withstand more pressure on a day-in, day-out basis. Today it's common for dentists to use higher quality solid ceramics, rather than porcelain fused to metal crown designs, since those types of restorations are more prone to the porcelain crowns breaking off. And if you're someone who clenches and grind your teeth a lot, a gold crown may be better for back teeth, since it can withstand heavy wear and tear without giving out compared to the porcelain fused to metal crowns.

What Affects The Lifespan Of A Dental Crown?

Your oral hygiene, diet, and daily dental crown care routine will be the most important factors that impact how long your crown lasts.  If you don’t have good home care habits, your crown won’t last much longer than a few years at most. That's because bacteria can create cavities around the edges of your crown, eventually spreading up underneath it. Fortunately, if you eat right, drink a lot of water, floss, brush, and see a dentist every six months for regular checkup, you’ll probably get up to 10 years or more from your dental crown.[1]

The only exception about how long crowns last is the ones that are placed on top of dental implants. Since implants aren’t natural teeth and they can’t erode, a crown can stay bonded on top of them indefinitely. But if you clench/grind your teeth excessively, the restoration might gradually break down due to wear and tear. If you’re replacing a missing tooth with a dental implant and crown, you’ll usually see those crowns last longer than any of the ones on anatomical teeth.

How To Extend The Life Of My Crown 

Here are some important tips to work into your dental crown care routine: 

1. See your dentist regularly for checkups

An appointment with your dentist every six months will help them spot any warning signs of potential issues. With regular cleanings and X-rays you can stay on top of dental concerns before they evolve into bigger and more expensive problems down the road.

2. Avoid super-sticky foods and snacks

Anything that's sticky enough to pull paint off the wall could also loosen your dental work, be it a crown, bridge, filling, or something else.

3. Don't be afraid to floss

A lot of people assume that flossing will pull their crown off, but it's actually the opposite. Not flossing around your dental crown is more of a problem, because it allows plaque buildup to compromise the seal next to your tooth. Flossing is an important step when it comes to helping your crown last as long as possible.

4. Sleep in a nightguard

Do you clench or grind your teeth a lot? Are you waking up with headaches? Are there flat or worn teeth elsewhere in your mouth? A nightguard can help you prevent your crown from fracturing while you sleep.

5. Don't let cavities spread 

If you get a cavity in an adjacent tooth, treat it right away. Cavities can "jump" from tooth to tooth, so you don't want active decay anywhere near your dental crown. Good oral hygiene is key. 

Is My Dental Crown Compromised?

How can you tell if you have a failing dental crown?  Are there symptoms that you should watch out for? Usually, it's important to rule out other problems before assuming it’s something related to your dental work.[2] But if it's been 5-10 years or more and you suspect that your crown is giving up the ghost, here are some warning signs to be aware of:

  • Your crown feeling loose whenever you bite or chew
  • Food or floss catching between your teeth, next to your crown
  • Sore or inflamed gums next to the edge of your cap
  • Tooth sensitivity coming from that area of your mouth
  • Discoloration around the margins of the crown
  • A bad taste or smell coming from that tooth

Proper Care For A Dental Crown

What should your everyday dental crown care routine look like? Ideally, it will be almost identical to the way you care for your natural teeth.

Good oral hygiene and proper care are critical. First, brush your teeth at least twice a day with a soft or gentle electric toothbrush. Focus on your gum line and margins around your dental crown. Brush with fluoride toothpaste for at least two minutes at a time. Since crowns have a tiny margin around the edge, plaque can stick to those spaces more easily. Don’t skip them!

Second, floss around every tooth in your mouth every single day. Including dental crowns, bridges, and implants.  It’s best to use regular floss instead of a floss pick, since it's easier to curve and glide it along the sides of your crown. If the floss catches whenever you're pulling it out, try sliding it out from the side instead. [3]

Third, visit your dentist for regular checkups at least twice a year. Your crowns need to be cleaned too. But it’s ok to visit more often if you have any doubts about your dental work.

When To Talk To A Dentist 

These days dental crowns are becoming more popular than ever. Especially thanks to same-day milling technology (think 3D digital dental crowns) and dental implants. If you’re planning on getting a crown or already have one placed, it’s good to know what you should do every day and how they can be preserved for as long as possible. 

Once it’s time for a crown to be updated or changed out, your dentist will need to remove the old one, re-prep the tooth, and deliver a new crown. You can’t reuse the old crown, it needs to be replaced because it will not fit your tooth or overall bite properly. [4]

So, How Long Do Dental Crowns Last?

With good hygiene and help from your dentist, 5-10 years or even longer! It’s not uncommon every now and then to hear about someone have their crown last 15+ years with good home care. Just keep in mind that’s usually not normal for most people. You want to purposely have a good dental crown care routine to help get the most out of your investment.

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