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How Long Do Dental Crowns Last? The Factors and Durability

Thinking about getting a dental crown? One of the most common questions people have is: How long will it last? Dental crowns are a fantastic way to restore damaged teeth and improve your smile, but like any treatment, they aren’t permanent. The good news? With the right care, your crown can last for many years.

In this article, we will explore the factors that influence a dental crown’s lifespan, turning that “many years” into a more specific timeframe. We’ll discuss the materials used, your daily dental routine, and even your overall oral health. 

What are Dental Crowns?

Dental crowns are tooth-shaped caps that dentists use to restore damaged or weakened teeth. They can be made from various materials and are typically placed over a tooth that is severely decayed, cracked, broken, worn down, or has undergone a root canal. Crowns not only improve the function of the tooth by protecting it and allowing you to chew normally, but they can also enhance the tooth’s appearance.

Understanding the Lifespan of a Dental Crown

Several factors can influence the longevity of a dental crown. Patients with a history of bruxism (teeth grinding or clenching) may experience increased wear on their crowns due to the exerted forces. Fortunately, maintaining good oral hygiene and using a night guard while sleeping can significantly extend the life of your crown.

Additionally, the placement of the crown in your mouth plays a role. While some crowns can last a lifetime, others may crack and require replacement. On average, a well-cared-for crown can last between 10 and 30 years.

Exploring the Variety of Crowns

The material selected for your dental crown plays a critical role in its aesthetic appeal, functional durability, and biocompatibility. Here, we explore the most commonly used crown materials, each offering distinct advantages and considerations:

Metal Crowns

A longstanding and reliable option, metal crowns, often crafted from gold alloys, provide exceptional strength and longevity. They offer exceptional durability, capable of withstanding the forces of biting and chewing for decades without breaking or wearing down. However, due to their metallic coloration, metal crowns are primarily recommended for molars and premolars with less aesthetic visibility.

Porcelain Crowns

Porcelain crowns offer excellent color matching for a natural appearance. They are commonly used for front teeth due to their aesthetic appeal, as they blend seamlessly with natural teeth. However, porcelain is more brittle compared to metal and may chip more easily. As a result, dentists typically avoid using porcelain crowns for back molars or premolars, where greater strength is required.

Porcelain-Fused-to-Metal Crowns

Porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) crowns combine the strength of metal with the natural appearance of porcelain, making them a popular choice. Your dentist can seamlessly match the color of adjacent teeth with these crowns, making them suitable for both front and back teeth.

While the outer porcelain layer may still be susceptible to chipping, with proper care, PFM crowns can last for 10-15 years.

Composite Crowns

Composite crowns offer a tooth-colored, natural-looking alternative that’s often more budget-friendly. However, they may not last as long as other types of crowns and can wear down more easily with daily activities like chewing and brushing. Additionally, the polished surface of composite crowns can fade over time, making them prone to discoloration or staining.

Predicting the Lifespan of Dental Crowns

Several factors influence how long a dental crown lasts. One key element is having enough healthy tooth structure for a strong foundation. Our dentist carefully crafts and fits the crown to prevent food traps and ensure it doesn’t snag floss. A loose crown can fall out and may need replacement, even if removed.

Dental insurance typically covers crown replacements every 5-8 years. However, a well-made and well-fitting crown, with proper care, can potentially last much longer, even exceeding a decade

Factors Affecting the Lifespan of Your Dental Crowns

Dental crowns offer a significant advantage over natural teeth: they resist decay due to the materials used, such as metals, ceramics, or composites. However, despite this advantage, crowns can still wear down or become damaged over time. Let’s explore the key factors that influence how long a crown will last:

Crown Location

The placement of the crown plays a significant role. Front teeth prioritize aesthetics, so crowns like porcelain may be preferred for a natural look. Molars, however, endure significant chewing forces, making porcelain-fused-to-metal or other robust materials a better choice for durability.

Quality of construction .

A well-made crown is important. Poorly fitted crowns can lead to misaligned bites, causing premature wear or even cracks. Choosing an experienced dentist skilled in crown fabrication ensures a proper fit and maximizes its lifespan.

Dental habit

Crowns are designed for normal chewing, but habits like nail-biting, using teeth as tools, or grinding teeth can exert excessive pressure and lead to premature damage.

Oral hygiene

While crowns themselves are resistant to decay, maintaining healthy surrounding teeth and gums is crucial for support. Decay, infection, or gum disease around the crown can compromise its stability and shorten its lifespan. Regular brushing, flossing, and dental checkups are important.

Type of crown 

Different crown materials offer varying degrees of durability. Metal crowns generally last longer than porcelain. However, aesthetics often play a role, and some patients prioritize the natural appearance of porcelain, even if it may require replacement sooner. Discussing the trade-offs between aesthetics and longevity with your dentist is important.

When to Replace Dental Crowns:

During a routine dental exam, your dentist can examine your teeth and take X-rays to check for signs that your dental crown needs replacing. X-rays can help reveal decay beneath the crown that might not be visible during a visual examination.

Here are some signs that it’s time to get a new dental crown:

  • Discomfort or pain when chewing: This could indicate an improperly fitted crown, damage to the underlying tooth, or other issues.
  • A chipped, cracked, or loose crown: Damage to the crown itself can expose the tooth underneath to decay and infection.
  • Visible decay around the crown: This is a sign that the seal between the crown and the tooth has been compromised.
  • A misaligned bite: This can happen if the crown is not positioned correctly, and can lead to jaw pain and other problems.

Early detection and treatment of a damaged crown can help prevent further complications, such as tooth decay or infection. If you experience any of these signs, see your dentist right away for an evaluation.

In addition to the above, I’ve removed the urgency around replacing a crown solely based on age. While crowns typically last around 10-15 years, a dentist can assess the condition of your crown during your regular checkup and advise you on replacement if necessary.

Book Your Dental Crowns at Cal Dental Anaheim

Understanding how long dental crowns last is essential for maintaining optimal oral health. At Cal Dental Anaheim in California, our expert team specializes in implants and cosmetic dentistry, guaranteeing durable crowns. With personalized care and advanced techniques, we maximize your crowns’ lifespan.

To schedule your appointment, call (714) 828-0508. Trust Cal Dental Anaheim for all your dental needs and enjoy a lasting, radiant smile.