A porcelain crown is designed to work with your own tooth and cover the part that is damaged. It can last for five to 15 years, or even longer with good home care and regular dentist visits. Where the crown is placed in your mouth does play a role, as does your lifestyle.
If you have some worn or damaged teeth, your dentist might recommend that you get a porcelain crown. And this might make you have some questions, like what is a porcelain crown? How long do porcelain crowns last? And how should you care for your porcelain crowns? Let’s take a moment to learn a bit more about dental crowns.
A crown is meant to function as one of your teeth. As the name implies, it is a crown over the top of the tooth that needs it, covering it completely. It is used for teeth that have had some significant decay or surface damage, or for a dental implant that didn’t work correctly. You can even put a crown on a misshaped tooth. Crowns can be used on the front teeth if they are not equally shaped or if they have become discolored.
If you have to have them, you can expect that your crowns will last somewhere between five and 15 years. You can extend the life of your crown with proper care and get 25-30 years out of them. Crowns on the front teeth will usually last longer than ones on the rear teeth due to the different ways you bite and chew with them.
What can you do to take care of porcelain crowns?
One of the best things you can do to take care of your porcelain crowns is to practice good oral hygiene habits. Here are some of the things you can do that will affect the longevity of your crowns.
- You should never use your teeth in place of scissors to open packages
- Don’t chew your nails
- Don’t chew pen caps or pencils
- Don’t eat ice cubes or hard candy
- Do brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once, especially around your crown or crowns
- If you realize you grind or clench your teeth while you sleep, ask your dentist about a mouthguard. Otherwise, that grinding or clenching your teeth can wear down your crowns faster. The added bonus is your own teeth will stay stronger as well.
You should keep all of your regular dentist appointments so that way all of your other teeth will stay healthy and the tooth under your porcelain crown has the best chance of staying strong and sturdy. The crown can’t keep your tooth protected from decay if the tooth is not healthy. If that tooth decays, then your dentist will have to remove the crown and do additional work on the tooth to repair it before restoring the crown.
Your dentist can also check the condition of the crown at these visits to make sure that it is still in good condition and that it is fitting the tooth correctly and that it is sited in the mouth properly.
Keeping food particles and bacteria out of the space under the crown is important to keep your crowned teeth healthy, so your professional dental cleanings are very important.
Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing regularly is important, especially along the gum line around the crown.
When do they need to be replaced?
Regular daily activities will cause wear and tear to the crowns, making them weaker and eventually causing them to need to be replaced. If you have a bite issue where your teeth do not line up correctly, it can lead to your crown needing to be replaced sooner than it might otherwise need to be. This is because unlike a bridge, your crown doesn’t have any way to disperse the pressure from your bite. If you think your bite needs alignment, have your dentist recommend an orthodontist to you who can line up your teeth and correct your bite.
- If your crown does get chipped or cracked, it will definitely need to be replaced. Not replacing it can lead to damage to the underlying tooth-like cavities or even causing enough damage to require a root canal treatment.
- Your crown needs to be replaced if it doesn’t fit correctly or if it makes the bite uneven. This is also true if your crown was not properly made in the first place. Choosing a high-quality dentist is important for this reason. A dentist who has experience with crowns will be able to manufacture a good crown that will fit correctly.
- A crown will likely break or chip if you have an accident or your crown sustains a trauma like a hard hit in a sport. The good news is, if it is just a minor chip, you may not need a full replacement. Your dentist can file off the rough spot and the rest of your crown can remain. If you are playing sports a lot, you should consider a mouth guard to protect your crown – and the rest of your teeth as well.
What complications are there to having porcelain crowns?
One complication is that if your crown is made of porcelain over metal, you may experience a situation where the porcelain wears down, exposing the metal base. This can also make your tooth appear darker than the neighboring natural teeth. If this happens to you, you can ask your dentist to use a porcelain base or even a zirconia base.
There are usually not many complications that come from having crowns. You may have some temporary discomfort from the prep work done to get your tooth ready for the crown. Some sensitive teeth toothpaste or a topical relief gel will help.
You may also feel like your crown is pushing into the gums. If this is the case, be sure to talk to your dentist who can do a little adjustment. Not only will this make the crown more comfortable, but it can also make it last longer as well.
If you have any sort of metal allergy, ask your dentist for a different type of material to be used in your dental crowns to avoid the reaction.
How can I pay for porcelain crowns?
The good part is many dental insurance plans will pay for 50-60% of the cost of the initial crowns, and if you have a crown that fails and it is over five years old, many insurance companies will pay for a replacement in full if your crown needs to be replaced. This is because crowns are not cosmetic dentistry compared to veneers which may or may not be optional.
Keep in mind that crowns are much less expensive than porcelain veneers, although they do a different job.
Your porcelain crown is meant to be a long-term solution for you, so it is meant to be durable. You may wonder how long do porcelain crowns last. They are designed to give you about 10 years on average, but generally, they will last five to 15 years. You can make them last as many as 30 years with proper care.
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Call us at (786) 540-1919 to schedule a free orthodontic exam.
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