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