The Next Coronation: When Will You Need To Replace Your Dental Crown?

How long will your dental crown last before you'll need a new one? You might not have given this much thought, and with good reason too—since porcelain dental crowns should last for at least a decade (and potentially much longer). There will actually be plenty of warning signs as the crown approaches the end of its life.

Comprehensive Cover 

Increased sensitivity is a clear warning sign that your crown is reaching the end of its life span. The tooth should be comprehensively protected by the crown. The porcelain shell bonded to the tooth prevents tooth decay and stops the tooth's nerve from becoming affected by irritants and infections. A loose crown cannot comprehensively protect a tooth.

Beginning to Wiggle

As the dental cement holding the crown onto the tooth weakens, the crown will become unstable. It may feel as though the entire tooth is slightly loose, but it's only the porcelain crown that is beginning to wiggle. As the tooth's unprotected structure (usually covered by the crown) becomes exposed, it will feel increasingly sensitive. Make an appointment with your dentist. It's not an emergency, but the crown will need to be re-cemented. In cases when the crown has already experienced years of wear and tear, it's probable that the crown will be replaced.

Exclusively Cosmetic 

The crown may feel perfectly secure, and the main sign of its years of service may be cosmetic. Like natural dental enamel, porcelain dental restorations can discolor with age. Enamel and porcelain have different levels of porosity, so they will discolor at different rates. Porcelain crowns can be professionally cleaned, but can't be whitened. Even though your porcelain crown has become increasingly yellow, it may be perfectly functional. Discoloration may be exclusively cosmetic. If so, replacing your crown becomes optional.

You Don't Have to Think About It

The good news is that the average person really doesn't need to think about replacing their dental crown—as long as they attend their regular dental checkups. Any dental restorations are inspected during these appointments, and this includes your crown. Any minor issues (chips, cracks, minor tarnishes) may be repairable, and your dentist can inform you when crown replacement is called for—so you don't have to think about it. A professional dental cleaning can also include having restorations cleaned and polished, which keeps them looking better for longer.

It's sensible to know what your dental restorations look and feel like on a normal day, so anything abnormal can be investigated by your dentist. But for the most part, keep seeing your dentist on a regular basis so your crown can be maintained or replaced as needed.

Contact a local dentist to learn more about dental crowns