Why Do Crowns Need to Be Replaced?
A dental crown is a customized cap that is cemented over a natural tooth to enhance the tooth’s shape, size, and function. Although crowns are very strong and designed to endure significant wear and tear, they are not indestructible and do need to be replaced from time to time.
The lifespan of a crown can vary based on many factors, such as your oral health condition, your diet and eating habits, your professional and at-home oral health care, and the construction of the crown itself. On average, an all-porcelain or porcelain-fused-to-metal crown will last between five and 15 years, while a full-gold crown may last up to 20 years or longer.
The Effects of Wear and Tear
Certain habits can strain a crown or cause cracks to form on its surface, which can lead to early wear or damage. These include:
- Using a crown to bite fingernails or other hard objects, open bobby pins or packages, or chew ice
- Clenching teeth while awake
- Grinding teeth while asleep
Additionally, a bite change can cause your upper and lower teeth to become mal-opposed, which in turn can wear down the occlusal surfaces of a crown through normal chewing.
The Importance of Periodic Dental Checkups
If you see your dentist on a regular basis, he or she will monitor your teeth and crowns for signs of wear and may recommend one or more treatments beyond replacing a crown, if necessary. For instance, your dentist may suggest that you wear a specially fabricated dental appliance, which can improve your bite by realigning your teeth, or a customized acrylic nighttime bite splint, which can help prevent further wear by keeping your teeth comfortably apart and relaxing your jaw muscles while you sleep.
Also, if your gum health is compromised, the gum tissue around the base of a crown may recede, leaving the tooth root exposed and susceptible to plaque formation, which can result in the development of decay inside the crown or a painful root infection. Even if you previously had root canal therapy on a crowned tooth, decay can still form on the remaining part of the tooth that supports the crown. For these reasons and others, it is important to have periodic dental checkups.
An experienced dentist at Florida Dental Centers in Clearwater, FL, can help you meet all of your oral health care needs. Whether a crown replacement is appropriate or an alternative or additional treatment is in your best interest, we will explain your options in detail. To learn more, contact us today.