Dental crowns are a protective tooth cap that your dentist fits over top of your damaged tooth, providing coverage from the top of the tooth to the gumline. When anchoring a dental bridge, they are fitted over healthy teeth adjacent to the gap, and in a dental implant, they replace the missing tooth crown.
Dental crowns are most often prescribed to restore a tooth’s function, strength and appearance. The dental crown prevents bacteria from penetrating the tooth underneath and causing further decay while also adding structural support. If you’ve been prescribed a dental crown you may be wondering, how long do crowns last?
Dental crowns are a permanent solution for damaged teeth that last, on average between 5-15 years, depending on the material used to make them and your oral health regimen.
How Long Do Dental Crowns Last?
The main contributor to how long dental crowns last is the material they are made from. There are several common materials used for dental crowns:
Porcelain fused to metal (PFM)
Porcelain fused to metal crowns are created with a metal alloy under layer and a porcelain upper. This gives the dental restoration the strength of metal crowns, but the natural appearance of porcelain crowns.
Metal crowns are typically crafted from gold alloy. This highly durable material is ideal for permanent crowns at the back of the dental arch.
Ceramic or porcelain tooth crowns
Ceramic or porcelain crowns offer the most natural appearance due to the material’s translucency. They are not often used for premolars or molars as they are prone to chips and cracks with extreme pressure. However, they are ideal for your Social Six front teeth.
At Available Dental Care, we offer CEREC dental crowns made from porcelain to ensure a long-lasting restorative dental solution. While traditional porcelain crowns require two appointments to prepare, fabricate, and fit a dental crown, CEREC technology allows us to take digital scans, create your custom crown, and place it in just a single visit.
At the beginning of your appointment, your dentist prepares your tooth as they would for traditional dental crowns, reshaping it to make room for the cap to fit over top.
Next, your dentist takes digital scans of your teeth that are sent to CAD/CAM software. The software generates a virtual 3D model of your tooth, sending the measurements to an onsite milling machine.
Your custom CEREC crown is fabricated onsite from a block of porcelain in about 20 minutes. Your dentist then checks the fit and cements the porcelain dental crown in place.
Since it’s made from durable porcelain, a CEREC dental crown is as strong as your natural teeth. You can expect a CEREC dental crown to last for 5-15 years, on average, depending on how well you care for your teeth.
What Affects the Lifespan of Dental Crowns?
If you wonder how long do tooth crowns last, several factors can affect the longevity of a dental crown beyond the materials it is constructed from.
Crowns placed in the front of the mouth last longer than those placed at the back of the dental arch. Premolars and molars are used for grinding and crushing foods, so they need to sustain higher bite pressure than your incisors and canines.
The tooth’s condition underneath the crown can affect how well the cement bonds between the tooth and permanent crown. If any decay remains in the prepared tooth, the structure will weaken, and the crown can become loose.
While dental crowns are artificial and can’t decay, your teeth and gums around the crown still need to be cleaned to prevent cavities and gum disease. Brushing and flossing twice daily can keep your mouth healthy and prevent your crowns from becoming stained.
Grinding or clenching
Grinding or clenching your jaws, also called bruxism, places undue stress on the dental crown’s structure. Although CEREC and porcelain crowns used at Available Dental Care are extremely durable, persistent bruxism leaves your dental crowns prone to chips and cracks.
Gingivitis or periodontitis occurs when the gum tissue becomes inflamed or infected. This can cause the gums to recede or deteriorate, loosening the connection between your gums and the dental crown.
Full or partial crown
Partial crowns, also called inlays or onlays, do not cover the entire tooth and require less tooth preparation than full crowns.
As a result, they preserve the tooth’s natural strength and structure.
Partial crowns can last up to 10 years, while full crowns can last up to 15 years before they need replacement.
External facial trauma
Injuries due to sports or vehicular accidents can cause severe facial trauma that can break, chip, crack, or loosen your dental crown.
How Long Do Crowns Last? Tips to Prolong the Life of Your Dental Crowns
- Brush and floss twice daily, and use an antibacterial mouthwash once per day
- Do not use your teeth as tools to open packages, bite your fingernails, or chew ice
- Wear a nightguard if you grind or clench your teeth at night
- Wear a protective mouthguard if you play contact sports
- Visit your dentist regularly for a check-up and dental cleaning
Talk to Your Dentist About CEREC Dental Crowns
If you’re dealing with severe decay or damage affecting ¾ or more of your natural tooth, it might be time for a dental crown. Dental crowns can improve the appearance of your teeth, provide structural support, and prevent further damage or decay.
At Available Dental Care, we can answer your questions about CEREC technology, about how long do dental crowns really last, and whether dental crowns are the right solution for you. Call us today on (02) 4062 8763 to book an appointment.