What Is a Dental Crown and How Long Do Crowns Last?

dental crown

Your teeth are meant to last a lifetime, but most people experience tooth damage or loss. The good news is that there are advanced methods that can be used to restore damaged teeth or even replace single teeth that have been lost. Dental crowns are a key component in restoring severely damaged teeth and also are used in tooth replacements like dental implants and bridges. How long do crowns last and when are they the best solution? Here is what you need to know about dental crowns, including how long they can be expected to last.

What Is a Dental Crown?

A dental crown is a prosthetic tooth covering that can be made from metal, ceramics or porcelain. A physical or digital mold of the tooth is used to create an exact replica that will match your bite for a comfortable fit. Dental crowns can be silver, gold or white – many people prefer tooth-colored crowns for a natural appearance. Dental crowns are used to restore a damaged tooth, or they can be used in restorative dental work like dental implants and dental bridges.

Dental crowns are often used to protect a damaged tooth. A tooth that has extensive decay or a large filling may be weakened and need a dental crown to protect it from damage. Crowns are often recommended after root canal therapy to protect the weakened tooth. Dental crowns can also be used to anchor a dental bridge to existing teeth or placed on the abutment of a dental implant to restore a single missing tooth. In some cases, dental crowns are purely aesthetic and used to cover an unattractive tooth.

How Long Do Dental Crowns Last?

Dental crowns are fitted over a tooth or dental implant abutment and cemented in place. As long as the cement is holding the tooth in place, a dental crown can last for many years. There are many different factors that impact how long a dental crown will last, including the type of crown, oral health and personal habits. How long do tooth crowns last? Here are some of the factors that will affect the longevity of a dental crown.

Type of Dental Crown
Dental crowns made from silver, gold or metal alloys can last for a very long time. If the dental cement holds the crown in place, a metal crown can last 15, 20 or 30 years – many metal crowns will last a lifetime. However, the appearance of the metal crown is not natural, and many people prefer the look of a porcelain crown. A porcelain crown has a much shorter lifespan, about 15 years or less, even those infused with metal.
Where the Crown is Located
The pressure on dental crowns is not the same in all teeth positions. A dental crown on a front tooth is under much less stress than one on a molar. Many dentists will recommend metal crowns for molars due to the likelihood that a porcelain crown will crack or break and need replacement sooner. In general, front dental crowns are likely to last longer than ones on the back molars that are used for chewing.
Oral Hygiene
Maintaining healthy gums and teeth is important for protecting your smile. It can also affect how long your dental crowns last. Poor oral hygiene can lead to gum disease, receded gums, bone loss and lost teeth. As teeth shift due to lost gum tissue or bone, there may be higher wear on teeth and crowns due to misalignment and other issues. Routine home oral care and dental cleanings can help maintain oral health and increase the lifespan of all your dental work, including crowns.
Personal Habits
Do you clench your jaw or teeth when you are stressed? Do you grind your teeth when you sleep (bruxism)? How you treat your teeth can play a role in wear and tear on both your natural teeth and dental crowns. Chewing ice or biting on popcorn kernels can crack or chip dental crowns; bruxism can wear down your teeth and caused broken teeth/crowns. How long do crowns last if you have bad personal oral habits? It depends on the type of crown and other factors, but it can shorten the lifespan.

Perfect smile after dental crown restorative treatment.

What If a Crown Doesn’t Last?

The good news is that even if a crown does crack or fall off, it can be replaced. Many dentists can replace a crown in one day; same-day crowns are a common service now with advanced imaging and on-site dental lab technology. Even if the crown needs to be made in a dental lab, most dentists can put a temporary crown in place until your permanent dental crown arrives.

How long do dental crowns last? In most cases, they can last up to 15 years with porcelain crowns and up to a lifetime with metal crowns. To learn more about dental crowns and the various options available, talk to your local dentist who offers porcelain or metal crowns.