Karrinyup Dental Centre

The Truth About Dental Crown Longevity and What to Expect

Karrinyup Dental Centre

Written by:

Dr. Justin Soon

Published on:

The Truth About Dental Crown Longevity and What to Expect

Dental crowns play an important role in the field of dentistry. They are an essential part of maintaining both the functionality and appearance of teeth. However, like other dental restorations, dental crowns do not last forever.

In the world of smiles, dental crowns are unsung heroes. They work quietly behind the scenes, allowing our smiles to stay bright and our teeth to function as they should.

But just like everything else, they don’t last forever.

There are many different dental crown materials, each with its strengths. Some are durable and last longer, while others blend in better with our natural teeth but may not last as long. With the various materials used for dental crowns, understanding their long-term success rate and what affects their longevity can help us make the most of them.

Keep reading to learn more about the lifespan of dental crowns and how you can help them last longer.

Summary of The Content

  • Dental crown procedures utilise caps that are placed over teeth to restore their shape, size, strength, and appearance.
  • The type of material used can offer different benefits and dental crown lifespans. Common materials include porcelain, metal, zirconia, and resin.
  • Common reasons for early crown replacements include wear and tear, inadequate oral hygiene practices, and uncontrolled dental habits.
  • Regular dental check-ups are important for dental crown maintenance, as they can help detect any potential issues early on.
  • Factors influencing crown longevity encompass dental hygiene habits, lifestyle choices, crown material, quality of dental care, and avoiding trauma.
  • Debunking myths about dental crowns clarifies misconceptions regarding their invincibility, maintenance requirements, and protective capabilities.
  • If your crown gets damaged, be calm, keep the crown, and contact a dentist immediately.

What Are Dental Crowns?

Dental crowns are prosthetic devices that play a major role in keeping our smiles both beautiful and functional. Dental crowns are custom-made caps placed over a tooth. They’re designed to restore a tooth’s shape, size, strength, and appearance. Crowns serve many important purposes. They protect a weak tooth from breaking, restore a broken tooth, and support a tooth with a large filling. They also hold dental bridges in place, can address misshapen teeth or severely discoloured teeth, and encase dental implants.

Beyond restoring teeth, dental crowns also serve a preventive purpose by protecting teeth from further damage or decay. With proper care, a crown can play a crucial role in maintaining overall dental health. This makes understanding them and their care an important part of dental health.

The Lifespan of Different Dental Crown Materials

Dental crowns come in a variety of materials, each offering unique benefits and lifespans. Here’s a closer look at the most common type of crown.

  • Porcelain crowns:
    These are popular for their natural look, closely matching the colour of your natural teeth. However, they might not be as strong as metal crowns, and with good oral care, they last five to 15 years.
  • Metal crowns:
    Made from gold, nickel, chromium, or palladium, metal crowns are extremely durable and can withstand biting and chewing forces well. However, they are not recommended for restoring front teeth due to their metallic colour. They can last up to 20 years or more, making them a suitable option for molar restorations.
  • Porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) crowns:
    These can be a good compromise between the durability of metal and the aesthetic appeal of porcelain, as they are made of a metal core and covered by a porcelain layer. They generally have a lifespan similar to that of pure porcelain crowns, around five to 15 years.
  • Zirconia Crown:
    Zirconia crowns combine the strength of metal with the aesthetics of porcelain, making them a strong and visually appealing choice. They are very durable crowns and can last anywhere from 10 to 20 years or even longer with proper care.
  • Resin crowns:
    These are more affordable but less durable than other types. They’re prone to wear and tear and usually need replacement sooner, often with a limited lifespan of three years.

Understanding the differences in materials can help you and your dentist choose the right material for your dental crown. Remember, dental crown longevity greatly depends on the material chosen and how well you care for it.

The Average Lifespan of a Dental Crown

High-quality dental crowns are long-term investments in your dental health, with their value lasting for many years. On average, over 90% of single crowns won’t need treatment in five years. Longer-term survival is less well-documented. Literature suggests a survival rate of 50%-80% at 15 to 20 years. However, this number can vary widely based on the material of the crown, your oral hygiene practices, and your lifestyle habits.

It’s also worth noting that advances in dental technology and dental crown materials can influence these numbers. They can potentially extend the lifespan of newer crowns beyond these traditional estimates.

Why Do Dental Crowns Fail?

Even though custom crowns are built to last, sometimes they don’t make it as long as we hope. Let’s explore some common reasons why dental crowns might need to be replaced:

  • Wear and Tear:
    Just like natural teeth, crowns are subjected to daily biting and chewing, which can result in wear over time. Crowns made from porcelain or resin materials are especially susceptible.
  • Poor Oral Hygiene Habits:
    Not brushing and flossing regularly can result in gum disease and tooth decay around the crown, causing more damage to the tooth as well as gum recession.
  • Dental Habits:
    Habits such as grinding or clenching, chewing ice, or biting fingernails can put additional stress on crowns. These habits can result in dislodgment of the crown or damaged teeth.
  • Accidents or Injuries:
    A fall or a blow to the face can crack or dislodge a crown, just as it can damage natural teeth.
  • Improper Fit or Installation:
    Sometimes, if a crown isn’t fitted properly or the bonding isn’t strong, it can come loose or fall out.

Maintaining dental crowns involves more than just the right material and good oral hygiene. It also means being mindful of your habits and seeking prompt oral health care for any dental injuries. Knowing these common pitfalls can help you take proactive steps to keep your crowns as long as possible.

Factors That Affect Dental Crown Longevity

The dental crown lifespan isn’t set in stone. It is influenced by a mix of key factors that can either shorten or extend its years of service. Let’s look at what plays a role:

  • Oral Hygiene:
    Proper dental crown maintenance includes proper home care, such as brushing twice a day and flossing daily. Good oral hygiene keeps the gums and teeth surrounding the crown healthy, preventing decay and gum disease.
  • Lifestyle Choices:
    Smoking and consuming staining foods and drinks can affect the health of your gums and teeth. They can also affect the appearance of your crown, especially if it’s made from resin.
  • Dental Habits:
    Grinding or clenching your teeth (bruxism) can prematurely wear down a crown. Wearing a mouth guard can help protect it.
  • Material of the Crown:
    As mentioned earlier, dental crown materials like metal tend to last longer due to their durability.
  • Quality of Dental Care:
    Regular check-ups allow for early detection of problems with your crown or the surrounding teeth and gums.
  • Accidents or Trauma:
    Protecting your mouth during sports and being cautious about oral injuries can prevent damage to crowns.

Each of these factors plays a role in how long you can expect your dental crown to last. By understanding these, you can help your crown serve you well for many years to come.

How to Prolong the Life of Your Dental Crown

Taking good care of your dental crown can help it last longer, protecting your healthy smile and investment. Here are some effective ways to extend the dental crown lifespan:

  • Use Fluoride Toothpaste:
    Fluoride can strengthen teeth by lowering the risk of decay, offering an added form of protection.
  • Avoid Hard Foods:
    Avoiding hard and sticky foods, like nuts and candies and biting on ice cubes, is also a vital aspect of dental crown maintenance. Opt for softer foods, like yogurts or eggs, to avoid any cracks or chips.
  • Wear a Mouthguard:
    If you have a habit of teeth grinding at night, a mouthguard can protect your crown from excessive pressure and damage.
  • Follow-up visits:
    Do regular visits for professional cleanings. This helps maintain the condition of your crowns.

Pay attention to these tips to prolong the life and appearance of your dental crown. Maintaining a crown involves more than simply keeping the crown intact. It’s about maintaining your overall oral health and confident smile.

Common Myths About Dental Crown Longevity

There are various myths about the longevity of dental crowns that can be encountered when navigating this topic. Let’s clear up some common misconceptions:

Once you get a crown, you’re good for life.While crowns are durable, they usually need replacing eventually, depending on care and choice of material used.
Crowns are indestructible.Crowns are strong but not immune to damage.
You don’t need to brush or floss crowns.Good oral hygiene is crucial for dental crown longevity. Brushing and flossing prevent decay at the crown edges.
Crowns protect against all decay.Crowns encase the entire tooth, but the area near the gum line can still be susceptible to decay without proper care.
If your crown is fine, your oral health is too.Even with a crown, underlying issues like gum disease can affect your oral health. Regular dental check-ups are key.

Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to maintaining a healthy and beautiful smile. Understanding the truth behind these myths can help you better care for your dental crown and overall oral health.

What to Do When Your Dental Crown Gets Damaged

Finding out your dental crown is damaged can be unsettling, but knowing the right steps to take can make all the difference. Here’s what to do if you find yourself in this situation:

  • Don’t Panic:
    Keep calm. A damaged or dislodged crown is a common dental issue and can be addressed.
  • Keep the Crown:
    If the crown comes off, keep it safe. Your dentist may be able to reattach it or use it as a model for a new one.
  • Call Your Dentist:
    Schedule a dental appointment as soon as possible. Quick action is key to preventing further damage or complications.
  • Avoid Certain Foods:
    Until you see a dental professional, avoid chewing on the side of your mouth with the damaged crown. Stick to soft foods like mashed potatoes, soups, and scrambled eggs. Avoid sticky, hard, or crunchy foods such as caramel candies, nuts, and popcorn.
  • Clean Gently:
    Keep the area clean, but be gentle. Rinse your mouth with warm water and brush carefully around the affected tooth.

The most qualified individual to evaluate and decide if crown recementation or replacement is required is your dentist. Taking care of your crown after it’s been restored is just as important as addressing the immediate issue. Follow any aftercare instructions your dentist provides.

Final Thoughts

We hope you feel more informed and equipped to make decisions about your oral health. Keep in mind that several crucial factors influence dental crown longevity. By understanding these aspects and taking proactive steps towards maintaining your crown, you can effectively care for it.

If you have any concerns about your crowns or are considering getting one, Karrinyup Dental Centre is here to help. Our team of experienced dentists is committed to providing you with quality care and advice tailored to your individual needs.

Schedule a consultation with us to discuss your dental health goals and how we can help you achieve them. You can reach us by calling our clinic directly or visiting our website.

Dr. Justin Soon


Dr. Justin Soon

Dr. Justin completed his Bachelor of Dental Surgery at the University of Western Australia. Dr Justin completed his surgical implant training under the mentorship of Dr. Glen Liddelow, Dr. Graham Carmichael, and Dr. Brent Allan at the Branemark Centre.

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