In an ideal world, your crown may last for well over a decade. Having said that, the more popular tooth-coloured porcelain crowns have shorter lifespans than less common metal crowns. Furthermore, the truth is that there are a lot of factors that conspire to shorten the lifespan of dental crowns. Those factors include poor oral hygiene, grinding your teeth and clenching your jaw, and poor habits such as chewing hard objects like ice and candy.
How do you know when you should have your dental crown repaired or replaced? There are three primary factors to consider when considering the actual lifespan of your dental crowns in Lethbridge: pain, changes, and age.
At every dental appointment, your dentist will carefully examine all past dental work in your mouth — including crowns to ensure they’re in good condition and to make any necessary adjustments. Assuming you’re visiting your dentist for regular checkups every six months, the staff at your dental clinic in Lethbridge will be able to identify the need for replacement and repairs before you notice any warning signs. If you’re not regularly seeing a dentist, though, you should know the warning signs that your crown may need some attention.
Your dental crown was designed to slip over the top of your underlying tooth and to surround and cover that tooth all the way down to the gumline. To accommodate your crown, the material was removed from your tooth so that the crown would fit seamlessly with your other teeth without adding unnecessary bulk. That means that, if your crown is ever damaged, that underlying tooth is particularly vulnerable to bacteria and decay which can cause swelling, tenderness and pain in the area of a crown.
Any swelling, tenderness or pain in the area of a crown can indicate that the crown is damaged and that the underlying tooth is starting to be affected. You should contact a dentist near you right away to protect your tooth and repair or replace your crown.
Crowns are designed with a biting surface to replace that originally provided by the underlying tooth. That crown is shaped and sized to fit perfectly into your jaw and to provide all the dental functions of the original healthy tooth. Occasionally, the biting surface of a crown may sit too high, too low, or not squarely where intended. If that happens, you may notice pain or difficulty chewing food on the side of your mouth with the crown.
Bite changes caused by an ill-fitting crown can also cause jaw pain as the result of imbalanced pressure while chewing. If you notice any of these symptoms of bite changes, contact a dental clinic in Lethbridge and ask for help in adjusting your crowns.
Durable as they are, crowns will wear out in time. It’s important that a worn crown is replaced before the underlying tooth is compromised by the loss of support. If you’re seeing a dentist regularly, their staff will watch for the earliest signs of wear. In any event, once a crown reaches the age of five years, you should ask your dentist if it needs any adjustment, repair, or replacement to accomplish the goal that it originally achieved.
Though crowns can last much longer than that, a crown’s lifespan can vary widely depending on where it is located in your mouth, how well you’ve committed to oral hygiene, and whether you clench your jaw or grind your teeth, for example. Even if a crown remains perfectly structurally sound beyond the five-year point, it is also an opportunity to ensure it is achieving your cosmetic dentistry goals.
Crowns are incredibly versatile dental restorations and capable of lasting a decade or more. It is important, though, to know the signs of a deteriorating crown or one that needs repair or replacement no matter how young or old it is. Ignoring a deteriorating crown can cause unnecessary discomfort and compromise your appearance. If you have any questions about your crowns — no matter how old they are — contact a dentist near you to get answers.