A dental crown is a restoration option for a tooth that is damaged or severely decayed. It provides a natural appearance and function, all while protecting the root of the tooth that anchors it in place. Your dentist may recommend a crown for a tooth that has a chip or crack, or for a tooth that has too much decay for a filling to be effective.
If you’re considering a dental crown, you may be wondering how long it will last. The truth is that it varies. But here’s what you can expect for the lifespan of the average dental crown.
What is a Dental Crown?
A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap placed over a tooth that is damaged. It protects the natural root and uses it for support. The tooth enamel must be reduced to make room for the crown to be attached. Once the crown is bonded to the remaining tooth material, it is permanently attached unless your dentist removes it. Dental crowns can be made of porcelain, various metals, or porcelain fused to metal.
Average Lifespan of a Dental Crown
On average, a dental crown is expected to last about 10-15 years. Over time the force of chewing can take its toll on the crown and cause it to wear down, crack, or become loose. But with good care and mindful eating habits, a crown can last for many more years or even the rest of your life.
Factors that Affect the Lifespan of a Crown
Dental crowns may have a shorter or longer than average lifespan due to the following factors:
- Material. The type and quality of material that is used to make your crown will play a large part in the lifespan. A porcelain crown offers the most natural look, but it is more likely to be damaged than metal. Metal crowns are stronger, but don’t look like a natural tooth. Porcelain fused to metal is often a good compromise that provides the durability of metal with the natural appearance of porcelain.
- Health of the natural tooth. A dental crown relies on the natural tooth root for support. It is important to keep the natural tooth material healthy with good oral hygiene habits and routine dental visits. Over time the force of chewing on a crown can damage the natural tooth material beneath it, potentially resulting in the need for a complete tooth replacement.
- Eating habits. With a quality dental crown you can usually eat the foods you want without worrying about your crown. However, eating especially hard foods like candy, nuts, and seeds can wear down your crown. You should also avoid chewing ice and non food items to prolong the life of your crown.
- Teeth grinding. If you grind your teeth, your crown may not last as long. Your dentist may recommend a night guard to prevent damage to your crown as well as your natural teeth from grinding at night.
Can a Dental Crown Be Replaced?
If your crown wears out, gets damaged, or becomes loose, it may be able to be replaced. As long as the natural tooth underneath your crown is still healthy and strong, a new crown can be placed over it. In case of irreparable damage to the natural tooth root, a dental implant is an option to replace the entire tooth, root and all.
Where Can I Get a Dental Crown Placed or Replaced?
If you need a dental crown or need to have one replaced, Total Dental Care provides crowns in a variety of materials. We can recommend the best type of crown for your needs. Sometimes a metal crown works for a back molar that is not highly visible and will bear the brunt of the chewing force. A porcelain crown looks very natural for a tooth that is near the front of your mouth that will show when you smile. Come in for an evaluation and we will discuss your dental crown options.