Dental crowns are extremely effective for tooth restoration, even when a tooth has severe damage. But how long to dental crowns last? Surely your crowns must help lengthen the lifetime of the teeth they cover, otherwise the treatment wouldn’t be considered a way to preserve your natural teeth. That said, should you view crowns as a long-term, or short-term solution to fixing your teeth? Are crowns meant to cover your tooth for only a few years, or is it safe to assume they’ll last longer?
The Lifetime of a Dental Crown
If you buy a new pair of shoes, how long will they last? Chances are you’ll be able to come up with an estimate, but varying factors will determine how long your new shoes can really last. Things you might consider in your estimate are how regularly you plan on wearing those shoes and what type of shoes they are. A sturdy pair of boots will last longer, even if you wear them every day, than flip-flops.
It’s the same with dental crowns. While you can consider certain factors when estimating the average lifetime of a dental crown, it’s impossible to be 100% sure how long your dental crown will last. Your best bet it to carefully consider the factors that influence the average lifetime of dental crowns before making a decision to crown a tooth.
With that said, dental crowns have an average lifespan of 10 to 30 years. That’s a big span, but crowns are different. While some crowns can last a lifetime, others are prone to cracking sooner after they’re placed. Your dentist might estimate one crown to last 15 years, but then expect another to last about 20. And while an estimate isn’t a promise, it’s a good guideline to help you make the right choice for yourself.
Despite the fact that good crowns last a minimum of 8 years, dental insurance companies are usually willing to pay for crowns to be replaced after 5 to 8 years. There’s a very good chance your crown won’t break in that time so (financially speaking) crowns are a practical choice.
Estimating How Long a Crown Can Last
The first way to know how long your dental crown can last is by asking your dentist. Because the current condition of the tooth you want to crown can affect the life expectancy of your crown. Some teeth just can’t effectively hold onto a crowns anymore, so you might find that your crown will feel loose soon after it was placed. If the problem is your tooth itself, your dentist won’t be able to crown it. Unfortunately, you’ll have to look into replacing the tooth with an implant or dental bridge.
But there’s another common reason for premature crown failure. When a crown isn’t properly fitted, there’s a good chance it will keep coming loose, even only a few months after it was placed. Often times, crowns that fit poorly were made that way at the laboratory a dentist uses. If you’ve been dissatisfied with crowns your dentist fitted you with in the past, your best bet is to find a dentist that uses a different laboratory. When it comes to dental crowns, the lab technician’s work is just as important as our dentist’s in ensuring a good fit.
But assuming your crown is well fitted and properly made, there are still things that affect how long the crown can last:
- Dental hygiene. If you don’t brush your teeth often enough, your crown won’t last as long. This is because the natural tooth inside the crown can still decay if you don’t take properly care of it.
- Bad habits. If you regularly bite on hard things like ice, or if you chew lollipops instead of sucking them, your crown can break sooner than expected. Habits like grinding or clenching your teeth can have the same effect. If your suffer from tooth grinding while you sleep, it’s best to wear a protective mouth guard while sleeping to prevent damage to crowned and healthy teeth.
- Crown materials. Materials used to make dental crowns vary in durability and appearance. Porcelain is looks a lot like your real teeth, but it isn’t as durable as dental alloys. Dental alloys, on the other hand, don’t match the appearance of your natural teeth like porcelain does. Talk to your dentist about what material will be best for you.
All things considered, crowning a tooth is still one of the best ways to restore it. Crowns are versatile and can be used for everything from keeping two halves of a cracked tooth together, to preserving a tooth after a root canal. If you have crown tooth pain, contact us immediately.