What is the purpose of a dental crown on a tooth?
When a filling covers most of the tooth, often it is not strong enough to withstand strong chewing forces. A dental crown can help protect the remaining natural tooth structure and filling from fracture.
We use a crown to:
- restore a broken or cracked tooth
- protect a weak tooth from breaking
- attach a tooth to an implant replacing a missing tooth
- protect a fragile tooth following root canal therapy
Dental crowns can be made from a variety of materials such as ceramic or gold or a combination of porcelain fused to a core of metallic alloy.
How long do crowns last?
Factors that can affect how long a dental crown lasts include your oral hygiene habits, whether you grind your teeth, other lifestyle factors such as poor brushing and flossing, and not eating foods containing calcium that strengthen your enamel. If you grind your teeth you may benefit from a night-time guard to help protect your teeth and crowns. If well maintained, crowns may remain functional for up to ten years.
By far, the most important factor affecting the longevity of crowns is your oral hygiene regimen. We recommend:
- brushing your teeth 2 to 3 times a day
- flossing at least once a day
- getting a professional clean every 6 months
How do you know if a dental crown needs to be replaced?
The only way to know if a dental crown needs to be replaced is by clinical examination during your regular checkups or a dental X-ray. The most common reason a crown needs to be replaced is if decay is visible, either clinically or radiographically. If the crown is fractured or there’s space between the crown and the adjacent teeth that let food and bacteria accumulate, it’s a sign that the crown should be replaced.
Signs and symptoms can indicate a crown needs replacing include:
- Pain: Most often this is caused by decay. In these cases, the crown needs to be removed along with the decay underneath, and a new crown is placed.
- Fracture of part of the crown: This can occur if the crown has been weakened due to a grinding habit or chewing on very hard foods such as popcorn kernels.
- The crown is no longer aesthetically pleasing: With time and age the gum line can recede, exposing the margin of the crown or if you want to change the shade of your teeth to a lighter color.
Tell us more about any dental crown issues you’re experiencing. Click here to check yourself in with us today!