Do Dental Crowns Need to Be Replaced?

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Do Dental Crowns Need to Be Replaced?

Dental crowns are an effective and natural-looking way to restore damaged teeth. But like any type of dental restoration, crowns do have a limited lifespan. 

The good news is that as long as you take good care of your teeth, it should be a long time before it’s due for a replacement. Let’s explore the reasons why dental crowns need to be replaced, what can weaken dental crowns over time, and how to know when it’s time for a new one. 

How Long Do Dental Crowns Last?

Dental crowns are made of durable materials, and they are designed to last around 10 to 15 years before you need to replace them. Their exact lifespan, however, depends on several factors. For instance, the type of crown, your oral hygiene habits, your diet, and whether or not you grind your teeth can all affect how long a crown will last. 

You can extend the lifespan of your dental crown simply by taking good care of your teeth. Brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing daily, and limiting sugary foods and drinks will help prevent bacteria buildup. 

While dental crowns cannot be eroded by bacteria like your natural teeth, bacteria buildup can inflame the gums. This may cause the gums to swell or recede, which can loosen the crown. A loose crown exposes the already weakened tooth underneath to further decay. 

Another factor that can impact the lifespan of a crown is if you grind your teeth. Also known as bruxism, teeth grinding puts tremendous pressure on your teeth. This can cause your crown to chip, crack, or loosen, and expose the vulnerable tooth underneath. 

Four Signs Your Dental Crown Needs to be Replaced

1: The Tooth Hurts Underneath the Crown 

Tooth pain should never be ignored. If a tooth that has a crown starts hurting, it could be a sign that bacteria have reached beneath the restoration. It’s crucial that you replace the crown to prevent further damage. 

Contact your dentist right away if you experience:

  • Pain when eating or biting down
  • Pain while brushing or flossing around the crown
  • Swelling of the gums around the crown
  • Sudden sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet foods and drinks

2: The Crown Becomes Loose or Damaged

Mouth injuries and bruxism (teeth grinding) commonly lead to problems with dental crowns. Loose or broken crowns need to be replaced as soon as possible, to protect the tooth underneath. If you notice a visible crack in the crown, or if it feels loose, make an urgent dental appointment. The sooner you replace the crown, the better your chance of saving the tooth. 

3: The Crown Doesn’t Match Your Other Teeth

Damage and decay aren’t the only reasons for replacing a crown. Sometimes, it’s an aesthetic choice. When a dental crown is first placed, it is tinted to match the color of the teeth next to it. But if you consume a lot of teeth-staining foods and drinks like dark berries, red wine, or coffee, it can darken your tooth color. 

Because crowns aren’t easily stained, the restoration may become more noticeable over time. Unfortunately, crowns can’t be whitened. If you want your crown to match, it will need to be replaced in order to restore your smile. 

4: It’s Been Over a Decade

Most adults will need to have their dental crowns replaced at least once, simply because they’ve had them for a long time. If your crown is over 10 years old, it’s a good idea to have it evaluated by your dentist, even if it seems like it’s in good condition. Your dentist can spot signs of wear that you may not have noticed. 

Is It Time to Replace Your Crown?

Only a dentist knows exactly when it’s time to replace a dental crown. At Dr. Saba and Associates in Sun Lakes, we can determine whether or not your crown is in good shape, and when it’s time for a new one. We can also help extend the lifespan of your crown with gentle, thorough cleanings. Give us a call at 480-895-2111 to schedule an appointment. 


Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (8/17/2023). Photo by LOGAN WEAVER | @LGNWVR on Unsplash