If your dentist has recently told you you need a dental crown, you may think that this structure will be a permanent addition to your mouth.
After all, your natural tooth material is removed, and this new crown is cemented to what’s left. That’s the sort of thing that will last you a lifetime, right?
But the truth is that, like anything else, dental crowns have an expiration date. Read on to answer the question, “How long do dental crowns last?” and learn how you can extend their lifespan.
What Are Dental Crowns?
Before we dive into all the factors that can impact the lifespan of dental crowns, let’s talk some about what they are.
A dental crown is a sort of cap that fits over an existing tooth to cover and protect the tooth’s root structure. This can be a good option if the root of your tooth is in good shape, but the rest of the tooth isn’t.
To prepare your tooth for a dental crown, your dentist will need to file it down so the crown can fit over the top of it. The crown will then be cemented on top of the tooth, completely covering everything visible above the gum line. The crown will look like all the rest of your teeth and enable you to chew and speak naturally.
Location of the Tooth
One of the most significant factors that impacts the lifespan of a crown is the location of the tooth it’s being fitted on. Crowns placed in the front of your mouth tend to last longer than the ones in the back. This is because of how pressures are distributed in different areas of your mouth.
Your front teeth are mostly used for biting into foods rather than chewing them up, so they don’t receive a ton of pressure. Your molars, however, take a lot of wear and tear, especially if you grind your teeth at night. This means that crowns in the back of your mouth are likely to wear down faster than crowns in the front of your mouth.
Condition of the Tooth
The condition of the tooth the crown is being fitted on can also have a big impact on how long the crown lasts. Of course, the reason you’re getting the crown is that the visible part of the tooth has decayed beyond reasonable repair. But the health of the root could determine how long that tooth – and the attached crown – can stay.
Teeth with healthy roots that stay in good shape for years after the crown is installed can last for decades after your procedure.
But if you don’t practice good oral hygiene, the tooth’s root may decay further. At this point, it will have to be removed, and your crown will have to go with it.
You may not be surprised to learn that the material a dental crown is made from can play a major role in how long it lasts.
There are four basic types of crowns dentists use today: zirconia, porcelain fused to metal, lithium disilicate, and gold. Which one you get will depend on your specific situation and your budget.
Of course, one of the quickest ways to reduce the lifespan of your dental crowns is to practice unhealthy habits. In general, your teeth should be used only for eating food. Using them for any other task, such as chewing fingernails or opening corked bottles, can cause crowns to wear down faster.
Some unconscious habits can also contribute to your crowns breaking down early.
If you grind your teeth in your sleep, you’ll wear out your crowns faster, especially those in the back of your mouth. If you suspect you grind your teeth at night, talk to your dentist about getting a mouthguard to protect your teeth and dental crowns.
How to Extend Crown Lifespan
There are also a few things you can do to extend the longevity of your dental crowns.
First and foremost, you should always practice good dental care, brushing and flossing twice a day and using an antibacterial mouthwash. Keeping the rest of your teeth healthy can prevent additional decay, which could mean getting a crown replaced.
If you have any of the bad dental habits mentioned above, do your best to kick them.
Try to stop biting your nails or chewing on things that aren’t food, and get a mouthguard to protect you from nocturnal grinding. And make sure you see your dentist for cleanings and exams regularly so they can keep an eye on the state of your crowns.
How Long Do Dental Crowns Last?
Dental crowns are a great way to keep a tooth that’s decayed past the point of reasonable repair. Crowns generally last between five and twenty years, although they can last far longer with proper care. The condition and location of the tooth, as well as the crown material and your own dental habits, can play a role in how long you can expect your crowns to last.
If you’d like to discover more answers to questions like “How long do dental crowns last?” check out the rest of our site at The Dental Team.
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