The human tooth has several unique parts, but to the general eye, each tooth has a root that is seated under the gums and an upper portion that is part of your smile. If the visible part of a tooth sustains damage, decays, or develops discoloration, dental crowns may be a viable solution to correct the appearance and protect the healthy part of the tooth.
Dental crowns are a common solution for smile imperfections and dental damages. But most patients who are advised by their dentist to get a crown have a big question: How long do dental crowns last?
In general, a dental crown can last anywhere from 5 to 15 years. However, it can be difficult to give a definitive answer as every crown and every patient is unique. Here is a general look at the other factors to consider that can be associated with dental crown longevity.
Factors That Affect the Lifespan of Dental Crowns
Every individual can have a different experience with their dental crown. So many factors can play a part in how long the crown may last once it has been placed. Here is a look at just a few of the common factors to consider.
The Material of the Dental Crown
Dental crowns can be made out of a range of different materials, including porcelain, composite resin, ceramic, metal, and zirconia. Many crowns are made from a combination of materials. For example, you may have a crown that is porcelain fused to metal for strength and longevity. The material can obviously have an effect on how long the dental crown will last. One study found that zirconia crowns are less likely to split or sustain damage with direct force, for example.
Something like composite resin tends to wear away faster than porcelain, zirconia, or ceramic. However, ceramic and porcelain may be more prone to breakage. Your dentist can give you a good idea of how long your crown may last depending on the type of materials used.
The Placement of the Dental Crown
The placement of a dental crown can have a lot to do with how long the piece will last because placement affects how the crown will be used. Generally, crowns can be placed anywhere in the mouth; they may be placed over a damaged molar for structural support or they could be placed over a front tooth to improve aesthetics.
The general rule of thumb is crowns placed on front teeth tend to last longer than those placed on molars. Molars are primarily responsible for chewing and come in contact with food more frequently. Of course, dental crowns in front teeth may also be more prone to damage caused by accidents, such as what would happen during a fall or if you were to get hit the mouth.
Another note about placement, dental crowns can also be partial pieces that do not cover an entire tooth. For example, you may only need a 1/2 crown to cover the upper portion of the tooth. Pediatric patients sometimes get “caps,” which are essentially crowns that lay over the biting surface of a molar. These partial crowns can also have a bit shorter of a life span than full crowns.
The Habits of the Patient
Everyday habits of the patient who gets the dental crown can be a huge factor in how long the crown actually lasts. For example, an individual that is vigilant about oral hygiene and never eats hard candy may get 15 years from their crown, but someone with the same crown and placement with poor habits may only get five years.
How to Get the Most Life from a New Dental Crown
Once your new crown has been placed, you will likely be elated with the difference it makes in your smile. You will no doubt want that smile to last for as long as possible. Your dentist will give you specifics about how to take care of your new crown depending on the material it is made out of and the placement. However, there are a few general guidelines to follow to protect your new crown:
- Practice good oral hygiene habits, including getting regular dental checkups and cleanings
- Avoid chewing your fingernails, ink pens, or other hard objects
- Avoid using the crown to directly chew on things like hard candy or ice
- Don’t use your teeth to break things or open packages
- Avoid grinding your teeth or clenching your teeth together firmly
If you have crowns and suspect that you are grinding your teeth at night while asleep, talk to your dentist about potentially getting a mouthguard. A mouthguard can protect dental crowns, but also the rest of your teeth.
Ready to Feel More Confident About Your Smile?
With the help of a good dentist and good oral hygiene habits, dental crowns can be a long-term solution for problems with your smile. If you have issues with your smile that you believe could be corrected with a dental crown, reach out to us at Making Lakeland Smile and schedule an appointment with one of our specialists. We offer a number of types of dental crowns to get your smile looking its best.
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